Home » Gates-backed startup Brimstone secures $55m for ‘carbon-negative’ cement

Gates-backed startup Brimstone secures $55m for ‘carbon-negative’ cement

by Sion Geschwindt
Gates-backed startup Brimstone secures $55m for 'carbon-negative' cement

US startup Brimstone Energy has secured $55m (c.£43.8m) in a Series A funding round led by Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures and DCVC.

The fresh funding will support the development of Brimstone’s “carbon negative” cement making process.

The company claims it can make ordinary Portland Cement that is chemically and physically identical to conventionally manufactured cement, but without releasing any CO2.

The investment round also saw participation from a host of big name clean tech funds, including Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and Fifth Wall Climate Tech.

Regular cement, no emissions

Cement manufacturing is responsible for around 5.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it a higher emitting sector than aviation or shipping.

Conventional processes for producing cement and concrete are inherently carbon and energy intensive. Traditionally, cement has been made from heating limestone in a high temperature kiln so that it emits its embedded CO2, thereby producing lime.

However, Brimstone’s novel process sources lime from calcium silicate rocks – which have no embedded CO2 – to make conventional Portland Cement, it explained in a press release yesterday.

The process also produces magnesium species as a waste product that passively absorb CO2, which the firm claims makes its cement net carbon-negative, regardless of the fuel source used in the kiln. 

Cody Finke, the co-founder and CEO of Brimstone, commented: “What sets Brimstone apart in the space is that we are building a new process to make Ordinary Portland Cement carbon-negative, which will be both lower cost and produce the exact same material trusted by builders for 150 years.”

Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, commented: “Cement is a miracle material that lets us build the infrastructure that is the foundation of our society and economy. It also happens to be a significant contributor to CO2 emissions during production.

“Not only has Brimstone figured out a way to eliminate the emissions in that process – their innovation creates an opportunity where our built environment could be a net sink for carbon.”

Rachel Slaybaugh, a Principal at DCVC, added: “We’re excited to continue to back the company as it scales this cost-effective Deep Tech breakthrough that can prevent gigatons of emissions annually.”

In addition to building a pilot plant, Brimstone is also engaging with cement and concrete companies, architects, structural engineering firms, and other organisations with a view to establishing joint ventures for manufacturing sites and agreements to buy industrial quantities of its carbon negative cement.

The firm has launched a ‘First Builders’ initiative to offer industry players and early adopters first access as Brimstone’s manufacturing process begins to scale.

Image: Hugo Leandri (Left) and Cody Finke, the co-founders of Brimstone Energy.

Read next: Alquist unveils plans for 200 3D-printed homes 

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