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Solutions Challenge: Greenhouse gases in developing economies

Gremix: Reducing GHG in developing economies by scaling green cement

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Team Gremix aims to reduce CO2 in developing countries by scaling green cement.

Cement is the glue that binds concrete. It has, literally, laid the foundations and supported the pillars of human civilization. Unfortunately, cement contributes up to 8% of global CO2 emissions and to decarbonize cement, we face 5 grand challenges:

  1. Cement is very cheap. In the US cement costs $125/ton.
  2. Cement is manufactured at gargantuan scale. 4.4B tons of cement is produced per year; that’s 650 kg per person per year.
  3. Cement fuels urbanization. 93% of cement is consumed in developing nations.
  4. CO2 emissions are a bi-product of making cement. 60% of CO2 emissions come from breaking down limestone (CaCO3) to CaO.
  5. The cement industry is highly regulated. It is a safety-critical material.

Nevertheless, we must lower cement emissions to reach net zero by 2050. Unfortunately, pathways to lower cement require innovative changes (e.g., replacing limestone, CCUS) that come with a green premium, not suitable for the 90%+ of cement consumed in developing nations.

Team Gremix, therefore, believes any solution to decarbonize cement must be cost-effective and scalable.

To validate our approach, we first start by addressing the needs of developers in CA. Developers in CA need low-carbon cement to meet industry standards, customer needs, performance requirements, Environmental Product Declarations (think nutrition label but for materials), and adhere to CARB 2050 net-zero targets.

Krish Mehta (MBA, GSB)
Shilesh Muralidhara (MsX, GSB)
Tony Cruz (MS, Sustainability)
Manju Murugesu (Ph.D., ERE)
Ayaan Asthana (MS, Sustainability)
PI: Stefan Reichelstein (GSB)

Awarded 2023
Solutions Challenge: Greenhouse gases in developing economies