The Clean Growth Fund, the UK venture capital fund, has co-led a £1m investment in Carbon Re, a UK climate tech start-up that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to cut CO₂ emissions in the global cement industry and other hard-to-abate industrial processes.
The investment by the Clean Growth Fund has been made alongside the UCL Technology Fund (managed by AlbionVC in collaboration with UCL Business Ltd) and UCL Business Ltd’s Portico Ventures, the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund (co-managed by Parkwalk Advisors), and Blue Impact Ventures (founded by Tier CEO, Lawrence Leuschner).
Carbon Re combines world-class deep reinforcement learning (a field of artificial intelligence best suited to managing complex decision-making) and industrial sustainability expertise from UCL (University College London) and the University of Cambridge.
Carbon Re’s cloud-based platform, Delta Zero, utilises powerful AI tools to achieve operational efficiencies in energy intensive industries, such as cement production, reducing operational costs and carbon emissions to otherwise unachievable levels. Delta Zero enables immediate reductions in energy consumption, cost and carbon emissions, with no capital expenditure.
Carbon Re is currently running pilot projects at cement plants in the EU, Turkey, India, Thailand and Vietnam and studies indicate that the Delta Zero platform could save a single cement plant US$2.3–5.9 million per annum and a 20% cut in CO₂ emissions from fuel.
Using AI to analyse a customer’s manufacturing data, Carbon Re recommends ways to cut emissions during cement production (or steel making, glass manufacture, etc) by modelling the production environment and dynamically identifying the optimal process for the lowest possible carbon dioxide output and fuel use.
Sherif Elsayed-Ali, CEO of Carbon Re, said:
“Our mission is to reduce global emissions at the Gigatonne scale, starting with the cement industry, and to become the leading global AI company to deliver industrial decarbonization.”
“Energy intensive industries, such as cement, steel and chemicals, are vital to the global economy, producing 75% of all the material in the manufacturing and construction sectors. They also represent more than 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Our advanced software helps these industries cut their energy costs and crucially reduce their carbon emissions. Carbon Re’s AI technology provides heavy industry with an effective solution to address their critical challenges of energy costs and emissions reduction.”
“The road to a zero-carbon world will be long but with the support of the Clean Growth Fund and our other investors, our AI-products and solutions will evolve to accelerate the transition of energy intensive industries.”
Stephen Price, Clean Growth Fund’s Investment Director, said:
“We are all really excited about Carbon Re’s ability to make a huge and positive impact across the world. The pressure is on the hard-to-abate heavy industries, like cement, to cut their emissions, and to do so much faster if Net Zero is to be achieved. By applying Carbon Re’s leading edge AI technology, heavy industry’s transition to more sustainable practices can be accelerated.”
Chris Gibbs, Cambridge Enterprise, said:
“Energy intensive industries, like cement, are among the hardest sectors to decarbonise. Carbon Re has a great team and a great technology that can be deployed today to save millions in energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Two prestigious UK universities, the University of Cambridge and UCL, alongside a tremendous group of investors are pleased to back an outstanding business that will bring real value to industry and real value to the planet too.”
The investment will commercialise Carbon Re’s work, which originally started at UCL’s Energy Institute and the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing. Currently the cement industry is Carbon Re’s primary area of focus but the company plans to expand into other energy intensive industries, including steel and glass, over the next 12-18 months.
For further information:
Carbon Re: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Co-Founder & CEO
• Aidan O’Sullivan, Co-Founder & CTO
• Daniel Summerbell, Co-Founder & CSO
• Buffy Price, Co-Founder & COO
To comment on…
• Opportunities for tech companies to lead climate action
• The UK’s potential for global leadership in climate technologies
• Advances in artificial intelligence and wider applications for climate change
• Challenges facing hard to abate sectors such as cement and steel
• Women in technology and high skilled jobs in the UK
Notes to Editors:
Carbon Re (our name refers to Carbon Reduce / Remove / Revolution) has a singular mission: reduce global emissions at the Gigatonne scale. Starting with cement, its Delta Zero product enables energy intensive industries like cement to reduce their emissions and costs. Delta Zero is Carbon Re’s proprietary software platform, using deep reinforcement learning to enable instant reductions in energy consumption, cost and carbon emissions. Based on innovative research at Cambridge University, and University College London, Delta Zero delivers state-of-the-art artificial intelligence solutions to manufacturers. See our 1 minute video.
The Clean Growth Fund was launched in May 2020, with cornerstone investment from the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and CCLA, one of the UK’s largest charity fund managers with £14 billion (as at 31 August 2021) of assets under management. In June 2021, Strathclyde Pension Fund, one of the two biggest local government pension schemes in the UK, committed £20m to the Clean Growth Fund.
The Fund is targeting the UK’s most promising early-stage “clean growth” companies that are pioneering carbon emission reductions in the areas of power and energy, buildings, transport and waste. Its remit is to drive superior financial returns for investors and accelerate the development and commercialisation of clean growth technologies in the UK – leading to the creation of new and skilled jobs across the country and contributing to the UK’s efforts to deliver net zero by 2050.
To date, the Clean Growth Fund has invested in Indra, the UK smart charging technology company, in Piclo – which is enabling network operators to procure flexibility services that help balance the grid from technologies such as electric vehicles and battery storage and tepeo – a company that has developed a low-cost, easy-to-install, zero emission boiler.
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We were the first in England to welcome women to university education and that courageous attitude and disruptive spirit is still alive today. We are UCL.
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UCL Business Ltd.
UCL Business Ltd (UCLB), part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise, is the commercialisation company for UCL. Working with UCL’s globally renowned faculties and associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital, it brings together exceptional ideas, innovations and industry to benefit society and the economy.
UCLB’s track record of success includes over £1.5 billion raised in investment for UCL spinouts, and Portico Ventures is enabling the next wave of technology-based businesses to thrive in a fast-moving ecosystem. Its fund offerings – UCL Technology Fund and Social Ventures fund – help to bring pioneering technologies from the laboratory to market, enabling academic entrepreneurs to tackle global challenges, from energy and engineering to healthcare and the environment.
UCL Technology Fund
The UCL Technology Fund is dedicated to investing in intellectual property commercialisation opportunities arising from UCL’s world-class research base, focusing in particular on the physical and life sciences. The Fund helps UCL academics achieve the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal and market impact, right through the development journey from initial proof of concept to practical commercial application. The Fund is managed by AlbionVC, one of the largest independent venture capital investors in the UK, in collaboration with UCL Business. For further information please visit: www.ucltf.co.uk
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Blue Impact Ventures
Blue Impact was founded in 2018 to bet on the leading players in the clean tech space. We believe that the climate and biodiversity crises are the most pressing challenges of our time, accelerating and worsening all other social and environmental issues. Based on 3 years of research on the leading scientists around the world we identified several sectors that will bring us the turnaround in the CO2 race. We are stage agnostic and have invested in several areas – clean mobility, regenerative farming, solar housing and food waste reduction to name a few. The fund is founded and led by Lawrence Leuschner, a serial impact investor and founder of reBuy, Europe’s leading second hand platform for electronics, and TIER, the first micro-mobility company to be fully climate-neutral and one of Europe’s fastest growing unicorns. Hence, Lawrence can provide advice on how to scale a business to +1600 people, raise capital from top tier global funds, and exit a company. Our purpose is to support mission-driven entrepreneurs to realise their visions of a better planet for current and future generations. We believe that transformative ideas beat incremental ones and that the most valuable companies of our time will be solving our biggest problems