Climate Tech Startups Join Forces with Policy Leaders to Expand Low-Carbon Concrete Market

January 17, 2024 | Media Coverage

The first-of-its-kind decarbonization initiative aims to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon concrete and cleaner building materials within the $1.8 trillion U.S. construction market.

CarbonBuilt joins nine other companies to launch the Decarbonized Cement & Concrete Alliance (DC2) in advocating for policies that push the public sector, in particular, to buy low-carbon concrete products and materials for buildings and infrastructure projects.

Collectively, the technologies rethink production processes and feedstocks, introduce novel materials, and utilize or sequester CO₂ directly in concrete—all to decarbonize cement and concrete for a green building sector.

“Kicking CO2 out of cement and concrete.”

According to a Canary Media article by Maria Gallucci, CarbonBuilt is among the innovative startups “devising novel ways of making low-carbon construction materials.”

“Members of the new DC2 alliance,” the article maintains, “all use differing ingredients and techniques to dramatically reduce, if not eliminate emissions entirely from cement and concrete.”

“We must overcome the industry’s temptation to embrace incrementalism in order to unlock the exponential climate benefit of the DC2 members’ technologies.” 

— Sal Brzozowski, CarbonBuilt

In particular, the DC2 is pushing for — and helping to craft — policy changes allowing government agencies to sign ​“advance market commitments.” These are binding agreements that guarantee a buyer for products once they’ve been successfully developed. 

Attracting risk-averse capital.

Canary found that the Department of Energy identified ​“firm, long-term offtake commitments” as key to attracting ​“risk-averse capital” to low-carbon cement projects.

During a November hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, Sen. Alex Padilla recognized that “most current tax credits reward companies that first emit and then capture their emissions but not as much for companies that are lowering or eliminating their emissions altogether.”

In December 2023, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) introduced the Concrete and Asphalt Innovation Act to help accelerate the commercialization of cleaner construction materials.

“DC2’s platform of robust policy, standards, and incentives to scale innovative solutions will not only accelerate deep decarbonization, but also transform the concrete industry from one of the world’s largest CO2 emitters to one of the world’s largest carbon sinks.”

— Sal Brzozowski, CarbonBuilt

The goal is to reduce the “all-in cost” of low-carbon concrete production, says Joe Hicken, vice president of policy for Sublime Systems, a founding DC2 member, “so it can compete with solutions that have been on the market for decades.”

Success of the coalition and its advocacy will introduce new ways to create low-carbon construction materials and address future capacity needs by scaling up the industrial base, creating new clean cement and concrete jobs, and promoting environmental justice across an industry-wide transition. 

Pathways to commercial liftoff for low-carbon concrete.

This launch comes at a critical moment in policy following the release of the Department of Energy’s inaugural “Pathways to Commercial Liftoff” report, which underscores the urgent need to decarbonize cement among these vital sectors currently contributing 8 percent of global CO2 emissions.

“This group of challengers is committed to making sure we don’t all end up where we’ve been before: A world tilted toward the incumbents and the status quo. We CarbonBuilders are in excellent company.”

— JJ Steeley, CarbonBuilt Head of Strategic Partnerships 

The 10 current members of DC2 — Biomason, Blue Planet Systems, Brimstone, CarbonBuilt, Chement, Fortera, Minus Materials, Queens Carbon, Sublime Systems, and Terra CO2 — are all pioneering North American venture- and private-sector-backed climate technology companies focused on delivering ultra-low-carbon, carbon-neutral, and carbon-negative cement and concrete solutions. 

Companies aiming to decarbonize cement and concrete interested in joining DC2 can learn more and reach out at and follow the alliance on LinkedIn.

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