ENTREVESTOR: Dartmouth cleantech firm in growth mode

So much is happening at CarbonCure Technologies these days that the best way to illustrate the Dartmouth cleantech company’s progress is to zero in on its customer and revenue growth.

We could highlight that CEO Robert Niven was one of four winners of the recent Manning Awards for Innovation. Or that Team CarbonCure is a semifinalist in the global US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon Xprize.

But what stood out in a recent interview with vice-president of sustainability Jennifer Wagner was the company’s fundamental growth. Wagner said the company aims to have its technology in 100 plants by September 2017, up from 37. It’s achievable because so many clients are multinational and plan to extend the technology to other plants around the world.

So if the number of clients triples, I asked, would revenues also triple?

No, she said. Many clients are adopting the most recent product for ready-mix concrete, which has higher margins than the original masonry product. So if CarbonCure hits its customer growth targets, revenue growth should more than triple.

“The stars are just aligning for us right now and everything is coming together to move us in the right direction,” said Wagner.

CarbonCure, which has raised almost $10 million in equity investment, has developed technology that injects carbon into concrete to strengthen it and reduce costs. Traditional concrete production produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide, but the CarbonCure method actually reduces CO2. The company began with a process for concrete blocks and last year launched a process to inject carbon into ready-mix concrete.

“It hits a whole bunch of different value points,” said Tony Van Bommel, head of the BDC Capital Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology Venture Fund, which invested in CarbonCure. He noted concrete is the most common construction material in the world and CarbonCure makes it environmentally friendly while cutting costs.

“If you can green that business, you are doing a substantial benefit to the environment.”

CarbonCure has recently produced a steady stream of news releases on new clients, and Niven has said the company would be profitable in this fiscal year. The company is spreading its wings by assembling a group of companies to compete for the Carbon Xprize. The four-and-a-half-year competition will find the best technology that creates a new product using carbon.

CarbonCure is leading the team, which includes Sustainable Energy Solutions, Praxair, Inc., Argos, BURNCO Rock Products, and several leading engineering and architectural firms. The team members all contribute to the process, from CO2 providers to concrete manufacturers to designers. Team CarbonCure is one of 27 semi-finalists. The finalists will be named in December 2017.

Xprizes are designed to offer large awards for world-changing innovation, so that even teams that don’t win end up producing something that benefits humanity. Team CarbonCure believes it is on the right track because concrete is such a pervasive material, and the company already has its product in the market.

“If you make a good science case and a good business case, you can make a meaningful impact for people all around the world,” said Niven in a video for the prestigious Manning Award.

“Concrete being the most abundant man-made material on Earth, if you can change that, you really have a solution that can scale and help a lot of people.”…

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