(Newark, Caifornia) — Did you know that cement manufacturing is responsible for 2.8 billion tons of CO2 emission? That’s the equivalent of gas emissions produced by all the cars on this planet. Sounds wrong, isn’t it?
“Not at all. That’s correct. But the worse is that since the creation of Portland cement in 1824, the making of cement has not changed. It still requires a lot of energy to manufacture cement: cement manufacturing represents 8% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel every year or 5% of all man-made CO2 emissions. No other building material has a larger footprint. And that’s what we’re about to change”, explains Marc Porat, the CEO of Cal-Star Cement that I met at Foundation Capital’s open house yesterday.
The goal of this secretive green building material startup based in Newark, Calif., is to reduce by 10-fold the amount of energy needed to produce cement by using “fly ash”. Its plan is to then sell its green cement at the same price than the regular one. But the process is not ready yet and the new green cement won’t be shipping probably for another year or so.
“Our go to market strategy is to target first the brick industry by producing bricks out of fly ash that are also 10 times less polluting to make than regular bricks. It will be available in volume by mid-next year”, adds Porat.
The startup just raised an additional B round of $12 million – after an initial $7 million round – that will be used in part to build its first factory – one of the 15 plants expected over the next 5 years.
Porat estimates the U.S. brick market to be a $4 billon opportunity versus $10 billion for precast cement. But its just mind-boggling that it “only” takes 15-people and $19 million to turn the construction business upside down, a $7 trillion a year industry!
“It’s simply the inventor’s dilemma. It’s still an industry where incumbents can’t disrupt their own businesses”, says Porat.