Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) has invested $3.4 million in CarbiCrete for the next stage in the carbon removal technology company’s project to create first-ever commercially available concrete blocks that are carbon-negative.
CarbiCrete’s tech solution makes carbon-negative and cement-free concrete from steel slag and captured CO2. 150 kilograms (331 pounds) of CO2 are removed for every tonne of concrete in the process.
Cement production is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to helping decarbonization efforts, the company says its patented product lowers material costs by 10 to 20% and brings 30% more compressive strength than traditional concrete.
A total of $8 million – including NGen’s funding – will be invested in CarbiCrete’s project to commercialize their manufacturing process. Among the company’s partners are Patio Drummond and Innovobot Labs.
CarbiCrete’s solution was initially developed at McGill University and will be implemented at Patio Drummond’s precast site in the city of Drummondville in Quebec.
“We’ve been working with a variety of different government agencies since the company started in 2016,” said Yuri Mytko, CarbiCrete’s chief marketing officer. “We’ve done our research in terms of all the different programs that we could leverage and this was an obvious one, especially given the project was immediately at hand for a new manufacturing process.”
CarbiCrete’s goal is to increase its production capacity from 500 to 2,500 blocks daily with NGen’s funding. Phase three of the project aims to enable a capacity of 25,000 blocks daily.
The funding will be used to build more absorption chambers where CO2 is injected into the blocks for curing, an innovative and faster process used in place of the typical heat or steam.
Innovobot – the company’s first investor – joined in April, 2018 to offer monitoring and process optimization. Patio Drummond joined in October 2018, contributing $2.1 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada for the Drummondville site.
Mytko said a few other customers are interested in using the CarbiCrete solution at their plants.
“I think it will be largely on the strength of the success of this phase, in which we’re going to allow them to come visit, then we’re going to move ahead into more contractual relationships with those customers,” he said. “We are already developing some differentiated products for them.”
Green cement is becoming an increasingly popular solution to mitigating climate change, with different solutions and companies entering the market. In May 2022, the Green Construction Board and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) released the Low Carbon Concrete Routemap – a guiding tool examining how the infrastructure industry can use the latest tools, technologies, and materials to continue using concrete while also reducing its carbon footprint.