Deep dive: WtEnergy x CEMEX Ventures

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We recently announced our initial investment in Waste to Energy Advanced Solutions (WtEnergy). Based in Barcelona, Spain, WtEnergy is a technology company focused on providing advanced solutions that convert biomass and non-recyclable waste into clean energy to different industrial sectors with a strong demand for heat and electricity. Let’s explore our partnership with the cleantech startup so you can better understand our investment and get to know the newest addition to our investment portfolio.

Let’s take a deeper dive!

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Update: EU awards Cemex and WtEnergy €4.4M grant

28/06/2023 – The European Union has awarded Cemex and WtEnergy a €4.4 million grant for the implementation of a novel waste-to-fuel technology utilizing synthesis gas at Cemex’s cement plant in Alicante, Spain. The project has been cataloged as “the first of its kind” for the cement industry by the EU. 

The project, named “Clyngas,” uses WtEnergy’s proprietary technology to reduce the carbon footprint of Cemex’s cement operations. Clyngas has the potential to reduce over 400,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions over a decade at the Alicante plant. The committee responsible for awarding the grant lauded the project for its “strong innovation component, reliability, and the improvement it represents in the use of gasification technology.”    

For more information about WtEnergy and the relationship between the startup, Cemex Ventures & Cemex, read below.

What – does WtEnergy do?

Simply put, WtEnergy offers different industrial sectors – construction, energy, textile, and pharma, etc. – a clean (and potentially renewable) energy alternative. Don’t really know what that means? Well, WtEnergy’s technology converts biomass or municipal solid waste and non-recyclable waste into a low-carbon energy solution called syngas, which can be used in the short-term as a fossil fuel alternative or be transformed in the medium and long term into different clean gasses such as biomethane or pure hydrogen gases. Therefore, not only does WtEnergy revalue waste and contribute to a circular economy, but it also provides a clean alternative to fossil fuels for various clients in different industries.

CEMEX, which already receives solid waste, intends to incorporate this clean energy source into its clinker and cement manufacturing process, further reducing the carbon footprint of its operations. It’s more than simply an investment, but a strategic partnership between corporate and startup.

Why – invest in WtEnergy?

CEMEX Ventures, which is the open innovation unit of CEMEX, looks to build relationships and strategically invest in promising startups with new technologies and business models that improve efficiency, processes, and operations, but that also adhere to the company’s ambitious climate and sustainability goals.

This investment is connected to CEMEX’s Future in Action program to build a more sustainable, circular future, and reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. However, CEMEX intends to cut its CO2 emissions and increase its use of clean energy alternatives much sooner than 2050.

Decarbonization is already happening through the following means:

  • Replacing fossil with alternative fuels
  • Increasing clinker substitutes

Last year, CEMEX achieved the highest CO2 reduction ever in its operations last year, showing that as a company we are working well toward our goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 47% by 2030. But to keep improving, we rely on internal innovation and partnerships. CEMEX Ventures works to foster the construction industry revolution by way of its partnerships with trailblazing construction technology and clean technology startups.

So, let’s dive just a little bit deeper…

How – will WtEnergy and CEMEX help each other achieve their objectives?

CEMEX and CEMEX Ventures look to support WtEnergy in their objective of expanding into international markets, helping additionally to discover and secure new opportunities on the project financing and funding fronts. At the same time, WtEnergy will be able to leverage CEMEX’s global network, R&D, marketing, and presence around the world, and receive feedback from some of the industry’s leading experts.

With WtEnergy, CEMEX aims to employ gasification projects across several operations, targeting an additional 20% fossil fuel substitution by 2030.

Alternative fuels are a key component in CEMEX’s ambitious 2030 decarbonization roadmap, which has been validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative for alignment under their new 1.5ºC scenario, the most ambitious pathway defined for the industry. WtEnergy’s EaaS (Energy-as-a-Service) offering compliments CEMEX’s initiatives since one of the key levers for achieving corporate objectives is through using alternative fuels with a high biomass content.

For a closer look at our Future in Action program, watch below:

When – will gasification with CEMEX begin?

Through our investment CEMEX validates WtEnergy’s cost-effective and on-demand renewable energy production solution, which will be incorporated into CEMEX’s cement operations starting with Spain and other EMEAA countries. Because of its lower asset intensiveness, WtEnergy facilitates scalability and capacity to deliver new and larger plants while improving performance over time and preparing the expansion into new international markets.

Where – are CEMEX x WtEnergy operating?

WtEnergy offers their solution to most heavy industries in the multi-megawatt scale and geographic regions.

Here’s a video of the latest WtEnergy plant in Lyss, Switzerland built this year:

CEMEX will be the preferred partner of WtEnergy in the construction industry, where they will develop WtEnergy’s technology in existing operations in the EMEA region.

As Gonzalo Galindo, Head of CEMEX Ventures, said, “CEMEX and CEMEX Ventures have already outlined an ambitious rollout across cement operations, starting with Spain and other EMEAA countries, and are preparing for the expansion of WtEnergy’s proprietary technology in new international markets.”

Who – is WtEnergy?

WtEnergy is a clean energy startup founded in 2017 whose novel technology transforms solid waste into synthesis gas (syngas) for industrial purposes. Its co-founders include Andrés Ponce (CEO at WtEnergy AS) and Antonio Crous (Advisory Board at WtEnergy AS).

The team at the cleantech company work towards their mission “to contribute to the sustainable management of waste and promote change in the energy sector with clean and low-carbon solutions for companies and consumers, producing more affordable energy.” They are experts in waste-to-energy management and have extensive experience in the design and implementation of gasification plants.

From the side of CEMEX Ventures, Alfredo Carrato, Venture Capital Advisor at CEMEX Ventures, has led the investment and relationship with WtEnergy. Alfredo is a trained Architect and college professor who scouts for breakthrough technologies and solutions in the decarbonization space for the construction industry. As a Venture Capital Advisor, he oversees investment activities and strategic partnerships at CEMEX Ventures, placing a special focus on startups that effectively tackle the carbon footprint challenge of the built sector.

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