Concrete & Building Materials Investor Showcase

Cambridge Cleantech, in collaboration with Carbon Limiting Technologies, hosted the 7th Innovate UK Showcase event for climate tech investing, with a specific focus on concrete and building materials.

Catherine Makin from Innovate UK explained how these national showcase events, held across the UK, serve as catalysts for investment and partnerships. She highlighted that these gatherings have generated investment deals for participating businesses and have facilitated the formation of new business partnerships while offering commercial opportunities.

The seventh edition of the Innovate UK showcase events for climate tech investing took place at the headquarters of Cambridge Cleantech Associate Founder Member, British Antarctic Survey, featuring presentations from 14 green materials innovators ranging from early-stage concepts to established enterprises, all pitching their ideas to investors. Commencing the day was a panel discussion with industry experts including Mark Daly from BloombergNEF, Emrah Durusut from Xynteo, Ben Walsh from Innovate UK, and Martin Williams from Saunders Architects and chaired by Sylvie Russell, COO, Cambridge Cleantech.

Concrete Innovators

The concrete and cement sector significantly contributes to global carbon emissions, with cement production alone responsible for approximately 8% of global CO2 emissions, as per data from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Decarbonising these industries is crucial in combatting climate change due to their substantial carbon footprint stemming from energy-intensive production processes and fossil fuel utilization.

Efforts to decarbonise involve various strategies such as promoting sustainable building materials, optimizing designs for energy efficiency, and implementing circular economy principles to reduce waste and resource consumption. Technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon utilisation offer promising solutions for capturing CO2 emissions from cement plants.

In the UK, the concrete and cement sector contribute around £16 billion to the GDP and employs 81,000 people, supporting 3.5 million jobs. There is a significant opportunity to transition to net zero emissions. However, innovators face challenges such as testing/piloting issues, lack of collaboration in the value chain, and high costs associated with plant development which discourage investors due to the high risks involved.

The panel unanimously agreed that collaboration among industry stakeholders, policymakers, researchers, and investors is crucial to accelerating the transition towards a low-carbon cement and building materials industry. By integrating technological innovations, policy incentives, and market mechanisms, it is feasible to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of these sectors while ensuring sustainable and resilient infrastructure for the future.

Following the panel discussion, investors and innovators engaged in in-depth one-on-one meetings. The event drew approximately 40 attendees from across the UK, predominantly comprising investors, corporates, and innovators.


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