CarbonCure’s CEO Robert Niven started his first business before the age of 12, reselling stickers to schoolyard pals. He found his big business idea when he attended the 2005 UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal and learned about the looming opportunity of carbon capture and storage. Taking what he’d learned during his engineering degree about permanently storing CO₂ within concrete, CarbonCure was born.
He figured, humans aren’t going to stop building things with concrete any time soon. So why not work with the massive concrete industry to create greener building materials?
CarbonCure’s technology works like this: CO₂ emissions are collected and purified, transported and stored onsite at concrete plants, then injected into concrete during the mixing process. The injected CO₂ reacts with the concrete mix and transforms into a mineral.
The resulting concrete is stronger than the traditional version and requires less of its most expensive ingredient, cement. As a result, every cubic yard of CO₂-injected concrete saves an average of 25 pounds of CO₂ emissions. An average midrise building built with their product would prevent about 1.5 million pounds of CO₂ from going into the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to the CO₂ absorbed by about 890 acres of forest in a year. Plus, the mineralized CO₂ can be sold as carbon removal credits, making the process even more lucrative.
CarbonCure is already working with about 300 concrete plants. The carbon they’ve mineralized in concrete represents 90% of the total global amount of carbon that has been captured, used, and stored—a process called carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS). Their ambitious goal is to prevent 500 megatonnes (550 million tons) of CO₂ emissions from entering the atmosphere every year by 2030.
Shopify’s offset purchase from CarbonCure comes from our belief that we need to create a market for CO₂ as a valuable product. Our investment signals to concrete producers that there is a demand for CO₂, and hopefully more of them will sign up to work with CarbonCure as a result. Once this happens, industries like direct air capture (DAC) will enjoy new revenue streams and be able to drive down costs for their processes.
Halifax, NS, Canada