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100 tech start-ups to work on achieving net zero

GCCA Innovandi Open Challenge 2024 will focus on carbon capture, use and storage for low carbon cement and concrete

Nearly 100 tech start-ups from across the globe have applied to join the Innovandi Open Challenge, a pioneering international programme that offers the chance to work with leading cement and concrete manufacturers, on decarbonising the world’s most used man-made materials. 

The Innovandi Open Challenge is run by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA), an international body that is working with leading manufacturers on the industry’s net zero mission. 

The development of new technologies is a key part of the industry’s net zero roadmap. Carbon capture, use, and storage technology - the focus of this year’s challenge, is expected to account for around 36% of all planned cement industry CO2 emission reductions by 2050. 

Applications for this year’s challenge were encouraged from start-ups focusing on the use of innovative technologies, including process integrated and end-of-pipe CO2 capture and use, as well as storage by mineralisation, which all help prevent the carbon being emitted into the atmosphere. 

Over 90 applications were submitted successfully before the closing deadline. The GCCA, together with more than fifty experts from its member companies, will now consider all the applications and draw up a shortlist of the most promising and deployable technologies. 

Shortlisted start-ups will be invited to pitch their projects, with those successful gaining unique access to industry plants, labs, key networks and the expertise and infrastructure of the GCCA’s 40 members from around the world. 

They will also receive guidance from the GCCA and its members to help them with the development of new technology and business strategies. 

This is the 3rd Innovandi Open Challenge and builds on the success of previous years. The first challenge, in 2022, also focused on the development of carbon capture technology, with six separate consortia established and two start-up technologies having already gone to pilot stage. 

The 15 start-ups shortlisted in last year’s second Innovandi Challenge, to work on the development of low carbon concrete, are currently negotiating partnerships with manufacturers.

Thomas Guillot, the GCCA’s chief executive said: “There are already more than 100 CCUS cement industry pilots, projects, and announcements in the pipeline across the world – with the world’s first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage plant set to complete later this year. Innovation will help our industry to deploy this technology further and faster.” 

Claude Loréa, the GCCA’s cement, innovation and ESG director, said: “It’s really encouraging to see nearly 100 applications for our Innovandi Open Challenge and from all parts of the world. As well as the US, UK and India, we’ve received applications from China, Greece and Australia for the first time. It demonstrates the high level of interest in working with our industry to make cement and concrete net zero. We’re looking forward to assessing all the applications, in detail.”