Carbon Upcycling is a waste and carbon utilization company unlocking a new frontier of circular materials. We combine CO2 with local industrial byproducts and natural materials to improve the performance of cement and plastics, some of the most widely used materials on the planet.
Tell us about yourself?
Carbon Upcycling was founded in 2014 by Apoorv Sinha. Apoorv has a background in chemical engineering and began his career at an oil field services company before starting Carbon Upcycling. After developing the technology at lab scale and receiving grant funding, Apoorv began to build out the team – full of young, highly-motivated, passionate, and capable team members, including myself. I graduated in 2020 with a Bachelors of Commerce from the University of Calgary. In my final year, I got introduced to the Carbon Upcycling team and began working part-time, and it didn’t take long before I was on-site being very hands-on with the scale-up of our technology during the Carbon XPRIZE.
After working for 6 months to get the technology up and running, I started working more closely with the business development team. And now, I’m leading the charge on marketing, external relations and developing pilot projects. There has been a steep learning curve over the last two years, and the team has doubled in size since I joined just over two years ago. It’s truly amazing to be a part of a team that is so passionate and ambitious about taking on an industry that is reluctant to change, but together we have the technical ability and are committed to making a difference.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself that when problems start to mount, remind yourself and the team of the bigger picture – for us, that is becoming the most impactful carbon utilization company of this decade!
What problem does your business solve?
Carbon Upcycling is a waste and carbon utilization company unlocking a new frontier of circular materials. We’re tackling the biggest problems on the planet—like climate change and industrial waste. Applying our novel technology platform, we enable the hard-to-decarbonize industry to transform local industrial byproducts and natural materials into superior additives.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Our first massive market is concrete, the source of eight percent of global CO2 emissions and growing. Our novel technology reduces the carbon footprint of cement, sequesters carbon, and improves concrete performance. We do this by opening up a new class of locally available, carbon-sequestering cement replacements. With Carbon Upcycling, cement and concrete producers can now create a superior product using local industrial byproducts and natural materials and save the planet at the same time.
What is your magic sauce?
Our novel technology platform unlocks new advances in strength and durability for cement replacements. By permanently storing CO2 in industrial byproducts and natural materials, we improve performance and lower emissions. Our double-digit strength and durability improvements are third-party validated, too. While our first massive market is concrete, our technology has applications across several global industries, like plastics and fertilizers.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Carbon Upcycling we believe the materials we consider waste today are sustainable feedstocks for tomorrow. And we’re making it happen by utilizing carbon. At Carbon Upcycling, we’re harnessing the power of carbon—as carbon dioxide—to change the way you perceive the materials around you. We have scaled our core technology over 4 MILLION times since our inception in 2014, which is a world-leading pace for scale-up. We are currently building larger modules of our technology to be deployed at ready-mix and cement plants in 2022/2023 in both North America and Europe. Over the next 5 years, we plan to continue to deploy our technology at dozens of cement plants around the world with the ambition of being the most impactful carbon utilization company of this decade.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
When Carbon Upcycling was first founded, we were focused on making niche nanomaterials with our technology. In 2018, we joined the Holcim Accelerator where we realized that our technology was applicable in the cement and concrete market, which open up the doors to a massive market that we at first never considered. The industry is known for being slow to move, but over the last few years we are starting to see a priority shift within the major companies.
How can people get involved?
There are many ways to engage with Carbon Upcycling. Looking for a career change into carbon tech, check out our job postings. Interested in learning more about sustainable concrete, we would be happy to host a lunch and learn session. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at www.carbonupcycling.com.