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Carbon Upcycling raises $26M for low carbon cement

Carbon Upcycling's CEO Apoorv Sinha holding the company's first reactor in front of a production facility.

Carbon Upcycling's CEO Apoorv Sinha holding the company's first reactor in front of its production facility.

Startup Carbon Upcycling has closed a Series A of $26 million for its technology that can produce low carbon cement.

Why it matters: The production of concrete and cement account for 8% of global carbon emissions and startups are increasingly looking at ways to produce less carbon intensive versions of these and other building materials.

Details: Carbon Upcycling's round was co-led by the investment arm of Canada's Business Development bank, BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund, and investors Climate Investment.

  • Existing corporate investors joined the round including Cemex Ventures, the VC arm of cement giant Cemex, the VC arm of oil company Occidental Petroleum, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, and CRH Ventures, the VC arm of building materials firm CRH. Clean Energy Ventures, its angel investor collective CEVG, and Amplify Capital also participated.
  • Carbon Upcycling takes industrial waste or naturally occurring minerals and combines it with CO2 (which can be captured from waste) in its reactors. Then using a catalyst the reactors produce a cement mixture that can have a 20 to 50% lower carbon footprint than standard cement.
  • The Calgary, Canada-based company plans to use the funding to deploy commercial projects including two co-located at cement plants, one with CRH in Canada and another with Cemex in the U.K.

Yes, but: While Carbon Upcycling already has 2,500 tons of its product in use in building projects, its first two commercial plants will be a test to see if the cement plants can operate normally, with lower carbon intensity and done cost effectively.

Big picture: Pushed by regulations, corporate sustainability goals, and a desire for supply chain diversification, building materials companies have been looking for lower carbon options for concrete, cement, and other materials.

  • A handful of startups have emerged to focus on low carbon cement and concrete in recent years include Brimstone, Furno Materials, Sublime Systems, Chement, Solidia, CarbonBuilt and others.

What they're saying: "Our vision is to become the most impactful carbon utilization company of the decade," said CarbonUpcycling founder and CEO Apoorv Sinha.

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