GCCA invites tech start-ups to join journey towards net zero emissions in cement industry

by Helena Morgan
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Demonstrating fierce commitment to helping the global cement industry slash emissions, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has launched a programme to capitalise on the resources and knowledge of tech start-ups.

The GCCA’s Innovandi Open Challenge 2024 calls on start-ups that are interested in experimenting with carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) to submit an application that outlines an innovative way to stall – and effectively stop – carbon emissions. Desirable solutions include relying on process-integrated and end-of-pipe CO2 capture and use. 

This program is the third Innovandi Open Challenge, and as always, promises exciting prospects and opportunities for start-ups. The inaugural challenge in 2022 also centred on CCUS technology and two start-ups that were involved are now reportedly in the pilot stage. Additionally, the 15 start-ups shortlisted in last year’s challenge are discussing possible partnerships with manufacturers.

New technologies the key to net zero

GCCA’s cement, innovation and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) director Claude Loréa is delighted that the Open Challenges have resulted in fruitful collaborations between start-ups and member companies. 

“Our industry is committed to achieving net zero and the development of carbon capture technology is a key part of that work,” she says. 

Carbon capture and storage technology is predicted to represent 36 percent of total emissions reduction by 2050.

“We have seen remarkable progress being made in just two years from our programs, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s applicants can bring to build the extensive work already underway across the world,” says Loréa.

A time-critical fight against global warming 

The GCCA’s Concrete Future 2050 Net Zero Roadmap was an industry turning point. GCCA members who account for 80 percent of global cement production capacity – outside of China – pledged to reach net zero by 2050. The China Cement Association (CCA) also recently joined forces with the GCCA in a bid to tackle decarbonisation.

GCCA’s chief executive Thomas Guillot has faith in CCUS technology yet is intrigued to discover innovative solutions external to the cement industry via this year’s Open Challenge. 

“We encourage applications from start-ups around the globe to join us in the urgent fight to limit global warming,” he says. “If you are a start-up from Austria to Australia, from Brazil to Bangladesh, with an innovative idea to further develop CCUS, then you should be applying,” says Guillot. 

Ultra High Materials CEO Jonathan Cool entered last year’s Open Challenge and said the GCCA’s support and guidance were transformative.

“The exposure to the GCCA membership and the facilitation of collaborative opportunities with members made a beneficial impact on all of us. If we were given the option to do it all again, we certainly would,” says Cool.

Global cement and concrete industry pledges net-zero by 2050 at COP28

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