London Technology Fund Invests in Novacem

27 Aug 2009

London Technology Fund (LTF), London’s specialist investor in new technology companies, has completed an investment in Novacem, a start-up company developing a carbon-negative cement. LTF was joint lead in a syndicate which included Imperial Innovations Group plc and the Royal Society Enterprise Fund, together investing over £1 million.

Novacem, a spin-out from Imperial Innovations Group plc, is developing a cement which has the potential to transform the cement industry from being a significant emitter of CO2 to being an absorber of CO2. The annual production of over 2.5 billion tonnes of conventional Portland cement is already responsible for 5% of global CO2 emissions and cement volumes are expected to double by 2050.

In contrast to Portland cement, Novacem cement absorbs more CO2 over its life cycle than it emits. Novacem estimates that for every tonne of ordinary Portland cement replaced by Novacem cement, around 0.75 tonnes of CO2 could be captured and stored indefinitely in construction products.

Stuart Evans, Chairman of Novacem, said: “We are delighted to have raised investment from such a strong syndicate of specialist investors. They will help us position the company as a dominant provider of carbon negative cement to the construction industry. We are assembling a world-class team and these funds will help us grow the team, complete an initial pilot plant before the end of 2009 and accelerate development and commercialisation”.

David McMeekin, Chairman of LTF, said: “Novacem is developing a formidable technology which has the potential to have a major impact on CO2 emissions. It is an excellent example of the world class technology being developed at London’s universities. We are delighted that LTF is able to support the company through this important stage of its development”.

Novacem was founded by Stuart Evans, Nikolaos Vlasopoulos and Chris Cheeseman and is a spin-out of Imperial Innovations Group plc. Chairman Stuart Evans is an experienced technology entrepreneur, having been the founding CEO at Plastic Logic and Cotag International; Dr Vlasopoulos is the company’s Chief Scientist; and Dr Cheeseman, a Reader in Waste Management at Imperial College London, is the company’s Senior Scientific Adviser.

Novacem’s revolutionary technology is based on magnesium silicates rather than limestone (calcium carbonate) as is used in traditional Portland cement. Global reserves of magnesium silicates are estimated to be in excess of 10,000 billion tonnes. The company’s technology converts magnesium silicates into magnesium oxide using a low carbon, low temperature process and then adds special mineral additives to produce Novacem cement.