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Initiating paradigm shift towards sustainable cement production. Novel smart nano-additive reducing cement production carbon footprint, cost and energy demand.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ngCon (Initiating paradigm shift towards sustainable cement production. Novel smart nano-additive reducing cement production carbon footprint, cost and energy demand.)

Reporting period: 2020-11-01 to 2021-10-31

Current urbanisation rate is pushing the cement production of almost 4 to 5 Billions tons every year and in fact concrete made from cement is the 2nd most used substance after water in the world. At this rate we would be building 1NYC, every month for the next 40 years. With no direct alternative in sight, we need to deal with the high carbon footprint issue associated with modern day cement/concrete products that covers 95% of the $ 10 trillion construction sector worldwide. Construction sector put in almost 8% of manmade carbon emission, which is higher than the trucking, airline and shipping industry put together at 6%.

Needless to say, with the given state of climate change every % improvement on carbon reduction in such a massive industry matters. If we want to survive as society and avoid any enormous impact on the existing environment so that it continues to support life in its current state we need to act now else we will fail to exist in future. Unfortunately there is little to no giant changes in the construction sectors compared to any other manufacturing sector and it often goes unnoticed for an economic sector that is utterly important employing a good 10-12% of workforce worldwide. Hence it is all that more important to find a solution for this existential problem to modern day society.

So the overall objective is to build a novel material technology that can make a measurable impact at the gigatons levels with quick scalable factors as time is of the essence. We need low to no barrier entry of integration of technology so it can be easily adapted in every market from grown western economies to developing African economies.
In the project we have discovered chemistry right at the miniscule level that determines the final strength of cement/concrete. If we could control these chemical reactions at this level we can manipulate the way cement/concrete are made and also improve the durability of the structure as well.

To do so, we design and manufacture specialized catalyst molecules that can be easily introduced either in cement or in concrete like a salt for cuisines and it helps enforce the chemical reaction forming better strength. With strength being taken care of, it allows manufacturers of cement and concrete to integrate more eco-friendly raw materials in cement and concrete thus reducing the carbon footprint drastically. Some of these eco-friendly materials come as waste from other industries that solves the waste disposal problem as well.

With the help of the EIC grant we have been able to demonstrate that we can scale up this technology to commercial volume and do client on-site integration. More than that we were able to show the low barrier to integration with existing infrastructure without need of any special budgeting for the clients. This allows them to save on cost, carbon footprint, taxes.
The technology being truly global is of course good for the environment as it shifts clients to adapt to low carbon footprint methods of manufacturing. However the main socio-economic impact comes from the fact that it helps reduce the cost for the cement/concrete manufacturer coming from materials end and any Carbon based taxations. On our side, it generates employment in the green sector, good for the environment and also saves money for the clients. Hence a truly win-win technology for all stakeholders involved - Startup-technology, Environment - society, Corporate.
Product presentation in a special edition of Swiss magazine “Dossier public”, published in Oct 2021