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Cambridge Electric Cement Secures £2.25m in Seed Funding to Propel Low-Carbon Cement Innovation




A British start-up, emerging from the prestigious University of Cambridge, has secured £2.25m in seed funding to drive forward its innovative low-carbon cement production method. Cambridge Electric Cement, the brainchild of this academic powerhouse, has attracted fresh capital from Legal & General, along with investments from Cambridge Enterprise Ventures, Parkwalk Advisors, Delph25, and Almanac Ventures, in a funding round spearheaded by Zero Carbon Capital.


The company's groundbreaking approach involves reactivating cement recovered from demolition using electric arc furnaces, the same technology in low-carbon steel manufacturing. This method promises a sustainable, circular solution to cement production, significantly reducing its carbon footprint.


The newly acquired funds will be channelled into industrialising this pioneering process at a Celsa UK steelworks site in Cardiff. The company plans to construct a real-world demonstrator and forge ahead with offtake agreements with various partners and customers, propelling this eco-friendly innovation from the lab to the market.


"We are excited to start our commercial journey to deploying our co-production process at scale with our great set of early investors and industry partners and are hugely motivated by the potential decarbonisation and wider sustainability impact we could deliver together," said Bill Yost, CEO of CEC.


The company's breakthrough lies in substituting the traditional lime flux used in electric arc furnaces for steel recycling with recovered cement paste. Researchers assert that heating the waste cement in the furnace effectively "reactivates" it without disrupting the steelmaking process.


Cambridge Electric Cement (CEC) claims its method significantly lowers emissions than traditional cement kilns by leveraging existing industrial equipment powered by low-carbon electricity. Additionally, it is more cost-effective than other 'sustainable cement' approaches competitors promote.


Founded in 2022 to commercialize research from the University of Cambridge academics, CEC collaborates with leading engineering, construction, and materials processing firms on the Cement 2 Zero industrial demonstrator project, a £6.5m initiative supported by Innovate UK.


After successful pilot trials using CEC's method at a 7-tonne electric arc furnace at the Materials Processing Institute, industrial-scale trials began in May at a 150-tonne furnace owned by Celsa UK.


Pippa Gawley, co-founder and general partner of Zero Carbon Capital, expressed excitement about supporting CEC's ambitious plans.


"Their innovative decarbonisation technology paired with the use of existing infrastructure addresses a significant gap and has huge abatement and commercial potential," she said. "We believe in the team's vision and their ability to execute, and we look forward to working together."

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