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Brimstone Energy Announces Financing to Accelerate Development of the First-Ever Zero-Carbon Portland Cement

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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.

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 byproduct of burning coal in powerplants and steel mills, and is becoming more expensive as global energy production relies less on coal.

Cody Finke, co-founder & CEO of Brimstone, commented, "The cement industry is currently reliant on coal-fired power plants and blast-furnaces. This dependency worked in the coal-dominated past, but the world is rapidly transitioning away from coal. In our modern energy system, the process that Brimstone is developing is more economically appropriate and sustainable.”

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 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.

Kelly Chen, Partner at DCVC, added, “This isn’t carbon capture, or a cement alternative. Brimstone’s technology doesn’t change the chemistry of Portland cement. It’s a clean process with no CO2 byproduct that also produces SCM without burning coal. Our investment in Brimstone exemplifies DCVC’s work of over a decade backing brilliant entrepreneurs solving trillion-dollar problems at the forefront of climate resiliency.”

“Cement production is a major contributor to global carbon emissions, and we are focused on fixing that by investing in innovative companies like Brimstone,” said Carmichael Roberts of Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “Brimstone has the vision to reduce the cost, complexity, and emissions associated with this critical material.”

The new funding will support product development and hiring. Brimstone’s products will solve two key problems for cement producers:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Hugo Leandri, co-founder and CTO of Brimstone, remarked, “Major industrial processes only change every hundred years or so, and they always change towards market simplification. With over a century since a major innovation in cement, it’s time for a change.”

Brimstone is engaging with cement companies, architects, structural engineering firms, and concrete companies through their First Builders initiative, which is seeking to build a coalition of industry players and early adopters, who will get early access as Brimstone begins to scale. If you are an interested company or firm, email firstbuilders@brimstone.energy to participate.

About Brimstone Energy

Brimstone Energy uses proprietary technology to produce carbon-neutral Portland cement and supplementary cementitious materials. While at Caltech, Co-founders Cody Finke and Hugo Leandri conceived of the vision to decarbonize cement production by inventing better technology to work within the existing cement industry. Brimstone is backed by top investors—including DCVC, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and the Collaborative Fund. To learn more, follow Brimstone on Twitter and LinkedIn at @BrimstoneEnergy, visit the website: www.brimstone.energy, or reach out directly: info@brimstone.energy.

About DCVC

DCVC backs entrepreneurs solving trillion-dollar problems to multiply the benefits of capitalism for everyone while reducing its costs. For over twenty years, DCVC and its principals have backed brilliant entrepreneurs applying Deep Tech, from the earliest stage and beyond, to pragmatically and cost-effectively tackle previously unsolvable problems in nearly every industry, especially those that haven’t seen material technological progress in decades. Together, we have created tens of billions of dollars of value while also making the world a markedly better place. Visit dcvc.com to learn more.

About Breakthrough Energy Ventures

Backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) invests in cutting-edge companies that will lead the world to net-zero emissions. BEV has more than $2 billion in committed capital to support bold entrepreneurs building companies that can significantly reduce emissions from agriculture, buildings, electricity, manufacturing, and transportation. BEV’s strategy links government-funded research and patient, risk-tolerant capital to bring transformative clean energy innovations to market as quickly as possible.

The first fund was created in 2016 as part of the Breakthrough Energy network of initiatives and entities, which include investment funds, non-profit and philanthropic programs, and policy efforts linked by a shared commitment to scale the technologies needed to address climate change and achieve a path to net zero emissions by 2050. Visit www.breakthroughenergy.org to learn more.

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Contact information

Cody Finke
info@brimstone.energy

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