Canadian MI champion helping to decarbonize the concrete industry
For the first edition of the Champions Corner, we caught up with Canada’s Champion, Sean Monkman. Sean is the Senior Vice President of Technology Development at CarbonCure Technologies, a company at the forefront of a movement to turn waste carbon dioxide (CO2) into a valuable commodity: concrete.
Sean told us about some of the exciting things that have been happening since MI-4 in May 2019.
What personal achievements are you most proud of since becoming Canada’s MI Champion?
In September, I had the opportunity to present at the 15th International Congress on the Chemistry of Cement (ICCC) in Prague, Czech Republic. I think of it as the “Olympics of Cement” – it only happens every four years, and showcases major trends and best practices in the cement and concrete industry. I presented two pieces of research at the ICCC. The first was on the subject of integrated capture and utilization of cement kiln CO2 to produce more sustainable concrete, and the second was on the subject of waste CO2 upcycling as a means to improve ready mix concrete sustainability. I also had the opportunity to travel to France to meet with a potential customer for CarbonCure, as well as to talk to technical experts in the country.
What have been some of CarbonCure’s successes since MI-4?
The past few months have been very busy. From May to October, CarbonCure has expanded from 98 ready mix concrete plants to 116. There was a combined total of 800,000 m3 of concrete output from all CarbonCure producers over that period, bringing our cumulative output to 3 million m3. Our cumulative environmental benefit increased from 32 kt to 46 kt CO2 – a 47% increase. Along with expanding operations, we have grown our team. CarbonCure now employs 36 people, which is a 50% increase since January. Our employees are located in both Canada and the United States.
CarbonCure is also about to expand further by entering the European market. I recently visited France (again) and Germany to talk with regulators about what we need to do ahead of our imminent expansion into Europe. This is in addition to existing operations in Canada, the United States and Singapore.
Finally, CarbonCure was featured on Bill Gates’ blog, GatesNotes, in October. CarbonCure received funding through Breakthrough Energy Ventures in 2018, which is a clean technology investment fund chaired by Bill Gates. The company feature was another great opportunity for us to have our technology and accomplishments shared with a large audience. It really supports and validates our mission to reduce the carbon footprint of the concrete industry.
Do you have any upcoming plans or announcements that you would like to share with the MI community?
At the end of January, I will be joining leaders in CO2 utilization (CCU) for construction at a panel discussion at Yale. In February, I will be at the Gordon Research Conference in Ventura Beach, California, to join the world’s leading concrete experts to discuss the future of concrete sustainability.