(London, 18 May 2021) – The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) has launched an Open Challenge to bring together tech start-ups and the cement and concrete industry to help accelerate the development of innovative new low-carbon technologies.

The Open Challenge invites start-ups to pitch solutions to key challenges for the industry that require advanced technology, support and investment and which will have a significant impact on the climate footprint of cement and concrete.

The challenge areas include carbon capture technologies, calcination technologies – for heating materials during the clinker manufacturing process -, carbon use in the construction supply chain and improved recycling of concrete.

The industry’s decarbonizing mission is vital because the world will need concrete to meet the challenges it faces, including providing safe homes, cities, and a sustainable built environment, states the GCCA media release.

Population growth and urbanization will also mean a greater requirement for critical infrastructure to support resilient communities around the world as well as the global shift to clean and renewable energy such as wind and hydropower.

“Concrete is the most widely used, material on the planet, after water,” said Dinah McLeod, GCCA Chief Executive.

“Our members have committed to drive down the CO2 footprint of the industry’s operations and products and to deliver on our ambition of carbon-neutral concrete by 2050.”

“However, this ambitious goal will require significant and complex changes in how we manufacture, use and recycle concrete. Innovation will be crucial at every stage, from new cement and concrete chemistries to kiln technologies, clinker production, and carbon capture,” she added.

This Open Challenge will help ensure we are bringing the creativity of the best minds from outside the industry to tackle the climate emergency.

  • Start-ups invited to pitch solutions for industry challenges
  • Focus on areas requiring high levels of technical support and investment, including carbon capture and concrete recycling
  • Winners will enter 12-month program with access to expertise and investment
  • Challenge is part of the GCCA’s worldwide mission to provide carbon-neutral concrete by 2050 in line with global climate targets

GCCA and the leading cement and concrete companies it represents have committed to using their resources to help start-ups bring innovation from the pilot stage to commercialization as part of their work towards realizing the GCCA is working with Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, to source start-ups for the challenge.

After the initial sourcing phase, experts from GCCA member companies will partner directly with selected start-ups to develop their technologies, utilizing their network, world-class expertise, and facilities as well as potential investors to bring them closer to commercialization and helping the sector to decarbonize.

Selected start-ups will have access to a global cement and concrete market worth $333 billion, and a global construction market that is projected to grow to $15.5 trillion worldwide by 2030.

GCCA member companies may also consider offering direct investment in select start-ups, though there is no investment requirement for participation in the challenge.

The challenge will be run by the GCCA innovation programme, Innovandi. Launched in 2019, Innovandi also leads the Global Cement and Concrete Research Network, which drives and supports innovation in the cement sector by executing pre-competitive research to improve sustainability and particularly lower CO2 footprint of cement and concrete.

The network includes 40 leading global scientific and academic institutions as well as 30 industry partners, from equipment suppliers to admixture producers and academics, working together to produce pre-competitive research aimed at improving sustainability.

More details about entering the Open Challenge can be found here.


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