Carbon-negative cement developer receives funding

The engineering, construction and specialist services company Laing O’Rourke has made an investment in Imperial College spin-out Novacem as part of a £1.6m funding round.

All three of Novacem’s existing financial investors – Imperial Innovations, the London Technology Fund and the Royal Society Enterprise Fund – also participated in the round.

This news follows the announcement made by Imperial Innovations regarding its own £140m of fundraising completed in December 2010.

Novacem has produced a means of producing carbon-negative cement based on magnesium oxide that is claimed to offer the cement industry an alternative to current carbon-intensive production methods. No carbon emissions are released from the magnesium silicate raw material used and, overall, more CO2 is absorbed than emitted during production.

The company will use the £1.6m raised to continue the development of its carbon-negative cement and manufacturing process, and to expand its commercial activities in the run-up to an expected Series-A financing.

Laing O’Rourke’s participation in the investment round follows its successful earlier collaboration in a two-year (2008–10) £1.5m Technology Strategy Board project led by Novacem.

Ray O’Rourke, Laing O’Rourke’s chairman and chief executive, said he looked forward to forging stronger working relationships with the company through the investment and also to delivering a viable carbon-negative Novacem product for use in the company’s own projects.

Novacem is currently working on a programme to design, construct and operate an Industrial Pilot Plant (up to 25,000 tonnes per year) to be co-located with an existing cement plant.