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Carbon Upcycling: Leveraging Carbon Emissions for “Greener” Concrete

a worker walks in front of a piece of machinery at the Carbon Upcycling plant

Carbon Upcycling: Leveraging Carbon Emissions for “Greener” Concrete

Carbon Upcycling Technologies, a new Rev member company based out of Calgary, Canada, is on a mission to convert harmful carbon dioxide emissions into impactful carbon-derived products, such as enhanced additives for low-carbon cement and concrete. With a goal of reducing 600 megatons of carbon dioxide by 2030, the carbon utilization company is working to expand operations and focus on creating innovative solutions to the climate challenges facing the world today.  

Carbon Upcycling treats readily available powder feedstocks, such as fly ash, crushed glass, or natural pozzolans, through its patented single step, low-energy carbon utilization technology, which sequesters carbon dioxide to create supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) for use in the concrete industry. These enhanced additives yield “greener” concrete that is up to 40% stronger than conventional concrete. The startup also develops anti-corrosion coatings and polymer additives using their platform technology.  

Established in 2014 by Apoorv Sinha, CEO and Founder, Carbon Upcycling has earned impressive accolades and recognition in just a few short years. Most notably, the company was a finalist in the Calgary track of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition, a $20 million business competition that encourages carbon utilization innovation. Carbon Upcycling was also a $250,000 winner in the 2019 76West Clean Energy Competition, supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.   

“The cement and concrete industry is striving to be net-zero by 2050. This support from 76West has further indicated that New York is poised to be a leader in low-carbon concrete policy. Carbon Upcycling has put extensive effort into providing robust life-cycle data to verify its carbon reduction impact, and as a whole, the CarbonTech industry needs to demand the same rigor from existing and emerging solutions—greenwashing cannot be supported—we need credible and vetted solutions to achieve the net-zero goals,” said Sinha.  “As the world’s leading carbon utilization company, Carbon Upcycling can reduce up to 40% of cement in ready-mix concrete. We are excited to commercialize our technology in New York to help the construction decarbonize as we take on the most important infrastructure building period in over 50 years.” 

Carbon Upcycling’s impact extends beyond the concrete industry. The company has also developed a direct-to-consumer product line called Expedition Air, which sells goods like crayons, clothing, and carbon-negative digital artwork — all made of carbon dioxide derived material — with the intention of educating the public about the myriad of possibilities for converting pollution into usable products.    

The startup sees many benefits to expansion in the Southern Tier region, including access to feedstock sites and carbon tax incentives, as well as leveraging resources at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works.

“We’re a lean startup,” said Madison Savilow, Chief of Staff at Carbon Upcyling, “Being able to access some really phenomenal talent and resources within the area, as well as access to Rev itself, was really one of the main drivers for us to join.”