Laing O’Rourke partners with Novacem

01 February 2011

UK-based contractor Laing O'Rourke has joined an investment group supporting Novacem, the manufacturer of a carbon negative alternative to Portland cement.

Laing O'Rourke joined a consortium of investors which raised £ 1,6 million (EUR 1,8 million) - the latest round of capital for the venture which aims to offer an alternative to current, carbon-intensive cement production.

Laing O'Rourke's chairman and chief executive Ray O-Rourke said the construction industry could no longer drag its heels on the issue of sustainable solutions.

"Although we recognise there is a limit to what is possible to improve the sustainability of conventional Portland cement, we are excited by the radical innovation being developed through our partnership with Novacem," he said.

Other members of the consortium include Imperial Innovations, the Royal Society Enterprise Fund and the London technology Fund, while the Technology Strategy Board and the Carbon Trust also support Novacem.

Founded in 2007 as spin-out from Imperial College London, the company has developed a carbon negative cement based on magnesium silicate, a non-carbonate raw material. Relatively low temperatures are used to produce the cement, and overall more CO2 is absorbed during production than is emitted, according to the company.

The latest investment comes after Imperial Innovations announced a £ 140 million (€ 164 million) equity raise in December. It said the funds would be used to accelerate its investments in companies established under its existing intellectual property pipeline agreement with Imperial College London.

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