Concrete is the foundation of the modern construction industry. However, its production is also responsible for the whopping 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so it represents a huge climate change threat. CarbonBuilt is a startup offering a potential CO2 reduction solution for concrete production.
It announced on Wednesday that it raised $10 million in Series A funding to grow its team and further develop its technology called Reversa that traps CO2 inside the concrete. The Series A round was led by Grantham Environmental Trust’s Neglected Climate Opportunities, with participation from Tony Pritzker, Climate Capital, YouWeb IV: Impact, Foundamental, Lime Street Ventures, and others.
The company will also use the climate change investment to build its first commercial project. “We are honored to have such stellar investors standing behind the company…They share our conviction that carbon dioxide utilization has a critical near-term role to play in humanity’s path towards a zero carbon future. Enabled by CarbonBuilt’s technology, the concrete products industry is uniquely positioned to deliver on this promise,” said Rahul Shendure, CEO of CarbonBuilt.
CarbonBuilt’s climate change technology brings innovation in reducing CO2 emissions of concrete production. It does that by swapping the use of traditional cement with low-cost and low-carbon supplementary cementitious and filler materials. The company adds portlandite in the mix that allows for the reduction of the usage of cement.
During the curing process (after forming), the concrete products are infused with CO2. The process does not involve a complex, expensive CO2 capture, purification of the gas, or high temperatures. It can use a wide range of CO2-containing streams ranging from point of source or distributed emissions that could be used directly, or even from direct air capture technologies.
Reversa brings a 10% to 30% reduction in raw material costs and a 60% to 90% CO2 reduction.
“A single concrete block produced using the Reversa platform is able to permanently store about 3/4 of a pound of carbon dioxide…Combined with CarbonBuilt’s best-in-class economics and scalability, Reversa accelerates humanity’s path towards gigatonne-scale carbon removal and even larger emissions reductions,” according to company announcement.
The startup’s technology development started at UCLA back in 2014 and in 2021 was one of the two finalists that won the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. Thanks to the prize and with help from the US Department of Energy, Reversa was used to produce over 10,000 concrete blocks using the CO2 in flue gas taken directly from a coal power plant at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center.
CarbonBuilt’s successful closing of Series A is a huge milestone that would allow the company to continue growing and developing its innovative technology that offers gigaton-scale CO2 reduction in cement and concrete production.