Saoradh Enterprise Partners: Report Finds the 7 Best Solutions for Decarbonizing Concrete, the World’s Second Most Used Material

BOULDER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Concrete is the second most used material worldwide, surpassed only by water. Every year, 30 billion metric tons of concrete are used globally. That’s almost four metric tons for each person on Earth. Concrete is hugely carbon-intensive, accounting for about 8% of global CO2 emissions. Cement is the biggest and most carbon-intensive component of concrete – if the cement industry were a country, it would be the third-largest CO2 emitter behind China and the US. The demand for concrete is growing, making it one of the most crucial areas for decarbonization. A new report from Saoradh Enterprise Partners (SEP) identifies the strongest low carbon solutions and most investable companies.


Common suggestions for decarbonizing concrete include:

  • Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration;
  • replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and green hydrogen;
  • and other solutions that address the industry’s high demand for heat and energy.

But these solutions are only part of the answer. The single biggest source of carbon – about 45% of all concrete emissions – is not heat or energy but a chemical reaction called calcination that occurs during cement production. SEP’s report found that changing the mix design (essentially the concrete “recipe”) can significantly reduce emissions from calcination. According to SEP’s analysis, using a low carbon mix design in addition to renewable power sources and carbon capture can reduce carbon emissions to almost zero.

SEP identified the seven most impactful low carbon mix alternatives. Listed from smallest to largest carbon footprint:

  1. Granulated blast furnace slag (GBBS)
  2. Limestone calcined clay cement (LC3)
  3. Fly ash
  4. Portland-limestone cement
  5. Biochar
  6. Early-stage carbon curing
  7. Recycled concrete aggregate (RCA)

SEP explored each of these seven solutions in-depth and performed a cost-benefit analysis, the results of which can be found in the full report. In addition, the report reviews a broad range of other cleantech solutions to mitigate the carbon footprint of the cement and concrete industry.

SEP created this report in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a global initiative for the United Nations.

“The importance of decarbonizing the cement and concrete industries can’t be overstated. Concrete is all around us, and it will be a key material in the short term as we adapt and build climate-resilient infrastructure. The fact that this report identifies multiple impactful, cost-competitive low carbon solutions is great news for the future of concrete and sustainable development worldwide.”

– Elena Crete, Head of the SDSN Climate & Energy Program

Market & Companies

Low carbon cement and concrete is an incredibly lucrative opportunity for cleantech investors – estimates of the global concrete market value range from $617 billion to over $887 billion. The market is predicted to grow to as much as $1.3 trillion by 2030. The global cement market is valued at about $330 billion and is predicted to grow to almost $500 billion by 2030.

SEP identified 87 notable startup and growth companies operating in the low carbon cement/concrete space. Of these, SEP found 24 to be most interesting to investors. The complete database of companies is available upon purchase of the full report.

Purchase the Report

The Concrete & Cement report is 193 pages and includes:

  • A global database of notable companies.
  • A global database of related policies (with a US focus).
  • Two hours of individualized support from the SEP team.

Outputs from SEP’s cost-benefit model are available upon request. Find more details, including a full table of contents, and purchase the report at:

About Topic Reports

Topic reports explore cleantech investment spaces with the aim to calibrate investors, uncover opportunities, and identify possible solutions to Solving Climate+ by 2050. SEP produces topic reports twice per quarter to gather data and insights important to evaluating key cleantech investment spaces as part of our Innovation Flow Reporting (IFR) service. Upcoming reports include Biochar, Bioplastics, Clean Food, Desalination, and Refrigerants.

About Innovation Flow Reporting

SEP’s Innovation Flow Reporting (IFR) service is designed to illuminate innovation hubs and identify and capture the best cleantech commercialization opportunities for SEP and our corporate clients. More than just market research, Innovation Flow Reporting delivers actionable information. IFR uncovers new cleantech opportunities for corporate venture capital offices, innovation programs, product development teams, and R&D departments. We know it works because we use it.

About Saoradh Enterprise Partners

Saoradh Enterprise Partners (SEP) is a cleantech venture capital and research firm based in Boulder, Colorado. SEP partners with innovators, entrepreneurs, and corporations to find solutions at the magical intersection of science (what’s possible), finance (what’s bankable), industry (what’s needed), and planet (what matters). Learn more at


Mir Murphy

Lead Analyst

(303) 448-2115

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