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Minus Materials grows biogenic limestone for carbon-neutral cement
Hannah DeTavis
Minus Materials uses calcareous algae to grow carbon-negative limestone for the cement and concrete industries. Photo by Haneen Krimly on Unsplash

Aiming to drastically cut the carbon emissions of cement production, Minus Materials is using microalgae to make a key ingredient in cement, Fast Company reports in the article, “This startup is using microalgae to make carbon-neutral cement”. The startup, spun out of the University of Colorado Boulder’s Living Materials Laboratory, has received seed investment from SOSV and has already supplied samples of its “biogenic” limestone to partners in the cement industry, such as Microsoft. Minus Materials is in the current cohort at SOSV’s IndieBio SF.

Cement production currently accounts for 8% of carbon emissions globally—partly from energy use and partly from the process of heating up limestone, which releases significant amounts of CO2, Fast Company explains. Minus Materials has found a way to develop limestone with an algae that captures CO2 as it grows, making cement production carbon neutral. 

Speaking to Fast Company about his inspiration for the biogenic limestone, Minus Minerals CEO Wil Srubar said, “It really wasn’t until I was snorkeling on my honeymoon that I started to really think about how these organisms, these macro- and microscopic algae, grow these structures. All they need is sunlight, seawater, and CO2.” He continued, “What we want to demonstrate with our pilot at-scale cultivation is that this is a replicable model anywhere in the world.”

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