Cement is used all over the world as the basic ingredient in concrete, mortar, and other building materials, and has two key components, Portland cement and supplementary cementitious material (SCM). Today, Portland cement is made by heating limestone and clay or other materials in kilns, a process responsible for about 8% of global CO2 emissions (5.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions) – about the same as cars. SCM is produced as a by-product of burning coal in powerplants and steel mills, and is becoming more expensive as global energy production relies less on coal.
For the world to reach net-zero CO2 emissions, and also meet the building demands of the future, cement production must be decarbonized. Brimstone’s technology (Brimstone Energy uses proprietary technology to produce carbon-neutral Portland cement and supplementary cementitious materials) produces ordinary Portland cement, identical in every way to conventionally manufactured cement, but without releasing CO2. Brimstone’s new process also produces SCM, identical in every way to conventional SCM, without burning coal. At scale, Brimstone’s breakthrough will make cement at or below market prices, solving both the problems of emissions and scarcity of raw materials, without increasing cost or risk for customers.
Brimstone Energy has secured financing co-led by DCVC and Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) to develop zero-carbon Portland cement. In addition to the $5.1 million financing, the company has also received $2 million in grants from ARPA-E, the National Science Foundation, and others.
Brimstone’s products will solve two key problems for cement producers:
Reducing liability: CO2 emissions are increasingly a liability for cement companies as more governments pass laws like California’s SB 596, mandating that the cement industry cut emissions by 100% by the year 2045.
Fixing supply-chain issues and reducing costs: Brimstone’s co-production of Portland cement and SCM will end the complex and expensive logistics headache associated with sourcing supplementary cementitious materials from the coal industry.