Innovators spun off from London’s Greenwich University have won cash funding to expand into decarbonising cement and other heavy-emitting, hard-to-clean industries.
Chatham-based carbon capture specialists Carbon8 have secured £4 million in equity investment from the venture capital arm of power giant EdF and French cement makers Vicat. Adding to the investment round has been £1 million from other equity investors.
Through its patented Accelerated Carbonation Technology process, Carbon8 combines industrial residues with captured CO₂ emissions, to produce high-value minerals. ACT speeds up the natural process whereby minerals are made in nature through combining with carbon dioxide.
Aggregates for use in construction and in fertilisers are among ACT’s fruits. Carbon8 is also researching other potential uses.
Target industries such as cement, paper and steel are estimated to emit around 20% of global CO2. Under CEO John Pilkington, the firm has commercialised technology to help such hard-to-abate sectors decarbonise, and convert their residues into assets for commercial use.
Vicat Group was Carbon8’s first commercial strategic customer in September 2020 when a CO2ntainer was deployed at Vicat’s cement plant, near Lyons.
The CO2ntainer helps boost growth in the use of alternative fuels in the cement-making process and uses captured CO2n to carbonate cement-plant dust by producing quality aggregates.
Carbon8’s technology is likely to be rolled out at other Vicat cement plants in France and beyond.
Pilkington commented: “Vicat Group and EDF Group share Carbon8’s vision of pioneering cleantech solutions for heavy industry and helping industry achieve their Net Zero ambitions. The investment made by EDF and Vicat is hugely valuable as we accelerate the growth of our business, and maximise the positive impacts – capturing carbon, re-using residues – that we can offer to industry. We are delighted to have the support of these two major companies, and the continued backing of our other investors.”
Vicat Group R&D director Laury Barnes-Davin explained the cement maker had been drawn to Carbon8’s two-part technology: capturing CO₂ emitted, and using it to make aggregates for use in building projects.
“Under our commitment to limiting our environmental impact, Vicat has looked at a number of innovative ideas for reducing its carbon emissions. We were drawn to It opens up great potential for our operations not just in France but also in all the countries where we work across the globe.”
EDF Group’ chief innovation officer Julien Villeret added: “The development of CO2 sequestration is key to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The solution developed by Carbon8 enables our industrial customers to accelerate decarbonization rapidly while integrating themselves into a circular economy logic.
“This investment is fully consistent with the raison d’être of EDF Group, which aims to build a carbon neutral world.”