Our sustainability approach through Open Innovation: Carbon Capture Utilization Storage, Hydrogen, Industrial heat, and Circular Economy.
Find the 25 most promising Cleantech solutions of 2023 that are redefining the Contech ecosystem.
As the construction industry aggressively works to cut carbon emissions and reduce its negative impact on the environment, many startups and top construction companies are looking actively to develop and implement innovations in cleantech.
CEMEX Ventures is dedicated to leading the construction industry revolution as it becomes greener and cleaner. CEMEX Ventures’ team of investment specialists scope out the most disruptive clean technologies that reduce CO2 emissions and that promote a circular economy with alternative energy sources and new business models.
Cleantech is the abbreviation of clean technology, which refers to any technology that simultaneously reduces or optimizes the use of natural resources while lessening or avoiding altogether the environmental damage of a process, product, or service. Renewable energy (wind, hydroelectric, solar, etc.), carbon capture, utilization, and storage, recycling, and alternative fuels are just few examples of popular clean technologies.
CEMEX’s mission is to build a better future. To do that, however, we must address humanity’s most pressing issue: climate change. That’s why CEMEX’s sustainability program, Future in Action, counts on strategic by 2050. CEMEX Ventures attempts to connect disruptive sustainable technologies to CEMEX’s core business through its CVC investment portfolio and exclusive startup accelerator, CEMEX Ventures Leaplab, which focuses on high-potential early-stage startups. To learn more about the clean technologies CEMEX Ventures is investing in and promoting within the industry, keep reading.
Our 2023 perspective and strategy between these five focuses.
One of the most talked about clean technologies making waves in the industry is carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), which are separate but connected processes that reduce carbon emissions in industrial operations before they are emitted into the atmosphere. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) consists of three key stages, whereas carbon capture and utilization (CCU) is compressed into just two.
The first stage of CCU and CCS is the capture of carbon dioxide from the gasses produced in industrial processes. This could be the emissions that are released from fossil fuel combustion or from the production of industrial materials, such as steel, oil and gas, or cement.
In CCS, once carbon emissions are separated and isolated from industrial emissions, they must be safely transported to a pre-established storage site. This is usually done through pipelines, but ships, trains and other industrial vehicles can also be used in the transportation. When the extracted CO2 reaches its destination, it is injected into a suitable storage site, which are often rock formations deep within the earth, or former oil and gas reservoirs.
Alternatively, in CCU schemes, carbon is converted into new products or services. Carbon utilization refers to the different technologies that use recycled CO2 as a raw material in the synthesis of green solutions that can replace fossil-based alternatives or reduce the use of finite raw materials. In this sense, CCU helps the construction industry comply with objectives related to the circular economy and the lowering of CO2 emissions.
Point-source capture can be applied to a broad spectrum of processes that emit CO2, including facilities that produce fossil fuels or other products such as hydrogen, cement, and steel. Point-source capture is carried out by equipping an industrial facility with carbon capture technology to prevent CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere. CO2 emissions may be present at a higher concentration in industrial facilities that produce cement, hydrogen, iron and steel, and ethanol, than in fossil fuel-fired power plants, so point-source carbon capture is a vital technology to reduce carbon emissions in cement production.
Direct air capture (DAC) with Storage is a Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) approach that extracts carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the atmosphere.
Direct ocean capture (DOC) with Storage is a Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) approach that involves removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from ocean water or other natural waters.
Once carbon dioxide has been captured, either by point-source, direct air, or direct ocean capture, it must be transported to a site where it will either by transformed into a new product or service, making up part of the circular economy, or where it will be stored.
CO2 transportation by pipelines is the most common method of transporting CO2. In the United States alone, there are over 5,000 miles of pipeline infrastructure stretching across 13 states. However, captured CO2 can also be transported by tanks and ships in its gaseous and liquid phases.
CCU: CO2 utilization consists of using converting captured carbon into to clean fuels, chemicals, or products that can be used in the construction industry in lieu of finite raw materials. CO2 produced in industrial activities–such as steel and cement production–can be recycled and used as a raw material in a variety of processes that make up our built environments. Carbon utilization or conversion is an efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and develop valuable products that can help offset the cost of carbon capture.
CCS: CO2 storage consists of storing captured carbon dioxide onshore or offshore. In onshore geological storage, CO2 is injected deep within sites beneath the surface of the earth. Likewise, offshore geological storage involved the injection of CO2 into storage complexes deep beneath the seafloor.
Carbon Clean: Carbon Clean is a global leader in carbon capture solutions for hard-to-abate industries. The company’s patented technology significantly reduces the costs of carbon capture when compared to conventional solutions and it has technology references across 49 sites around the world.
In 2020, CEMEX and Carbon Clean signed an agreement to develop an efficient and affordable carbon capture solution, and in 2021 CEMEX appointed Carbon Clean to work on a FEED study for a ground-breaking carbon capture project at its Rüdersdorf plant in Germany.
Carbon Upcycling: Carbon Upcycling Technologies or CUT was formed to “use the waste of today to build tomorrow.” The startup converts CO2 waste into performance improving additives for the building materials industry. CUT has validated its solutions for use in the plastics, coatings, epoxy, adhesives, concrete, battery, pharmaceutical, and consumer projects industries. In 2022, CEMEX Ventures invested in CUT to help scale CEMEX’s capability to emissions by up to 30% in its cement production process with the startup’s reduced-carbon clinker substitutes.
Carbon BioCapture: It’s no wonder that Carbon BioCapture featured on our TOP 50 Contech Startups List of 2023! The startup’s patented carbon capture business model aims to make fossil fuel-dependent industries more sustainable by capturing and converting CO2 into biomass and oxygen. The company has 15 years of experience in coal burning power plants and cement plants, and its proven technology provides a solution to the circular economy by converting CO2 into biomass that can be used to make green hydrogen, bio fertilizers, biodiesel, and animal feed.
KC8: Up next in the spotlight is KC8 Capture Technologies. KC8 brings low cost, environmentally safe, high performance CO2 capture processes to different industries across the globe. With over 20 years of experience, KC8 is focused on carbon capture cost reduction, and currently offers the safest and most tolerant solvent displaying the lowest energy pathway for CO2 removal available in today’s market.
Neustark: Last but not least is Neustark, whose solution is using concrete to help solve the global climate crisis. Neustark’s technology removes CO2 from the atmosphere and stores it permanently in concrete. This CCS startup sources its CO2 from biogas plants and works with concrete recyclers to store captured CO2 in concrete slabs, thereby reducing the need for cement in fresh concrete and avoiding new CO2 emissions.
Every year, CEMEX hosts its corporate event, CEMEX Day, in which members of senior management present information regarding the company’s business performance, digital, financial, growth, and sustainability strategies, and other related topics that may contain important information to different stakeholders within the construction industry.
During the last edition of CEMEX Day (2022), Gonzalo Galindo, Head of CEMEX Ventures, and Davide Zampini, Vice President of Global R&D at CEMEX, presented a crucial climate action panel on CEMEX’s plan for innovation and partnerships, one of the six pillars of its Future in Action program to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The plan consists of a sustainability strategy that leverages both internal and open innovation, in which research and investments will follow CEMEX Ventures’ four strategic priorities–Green Construction, Enhanced Productivity, Construction Supply Chain, and Future of Construction.
We are living in a decisive decade, in which the race to achieve critical climate action goals by 2030 is unfamiliar and arduous, and where we are faced with never-before-seen challenges that will require new solutions to be overcome. CEMEX’s objectives are clear, which is why its Future in Action program has set out an aggressive decarbonization roadmap with ambitions 2030 targets to achieve them.
Accordingly, CEMEX has pledged to maximize the contribution from its current decarbonization levers and to invest in R&D for breakthrough technologies. We acknowledge that we are only 7 years away from our 2030 goals, which is why we have our sights set on empowering startups and entrepreneurs in the construction technology space and increasing our investment portfolio with trailblazing solutions to be applied to CEMEX’s operations around the world.
Since its inauguration in 2017, CEMEX Ventures has experienced astounding success in innovation. Its current portfolio, with an estimated value of $50M, comprises 23 startups, including various Contech unicorns.
After the 2030 benchmark, CEMEX will launch a full-scale deployment of breakthrough technologies, which means the time to find new solutions that manage CEMEX’s sustainability, growth, and financial strategies is now. There’s no time to wait.