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Carbon-negative pioneers win Royal recognition

Carbon8 Systems, whose technology created the first carbon-negative aggregate, has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2017.

The company, formed in 2006 based on research at the University of Greenwich, has put its patented accelerated carbonisation technology (ACT) into commercial operation. 

ACT was licensed in 2010 to Carbon8 Aggregates, which built first commercially operational plant at Brandon in Suffolk, supported by investment from Grundon Waste Management. A second ACT plant opened at Avonmouth, near Bristol, in 2016, and a third plant, in Leeds, has planning permission. 

Carbon8 Aggregates won the Best Product category at MRW’s 2013 National Recycling Awards and, for the following two years, the material was used for the NRA trophies. 

Carbon8’s technology combines CO2 gas with industrial wastes, such as cement dusts, steel slags, oil shale ash, incinerator ash or paper ash, and contaminated soils to form new products. They can then be used as construction materials, keeping waste from landfill and promoting sustainable construction.

Carbon8 says the enterprise award will help it to achieve a global portfolio of waste treatment plants permanently capturing CO2

ACT was developed by Professor Colin Hills, technical director of Carbon8 Systems, and Dr Paula Carey, the company’s managing director, in the School of Engineering and Science at Greenwich.

Carey said: “Having successfully commercialised ACT for one specific waste stream in the UK, we are now working with some of the largest businesses in the world, including HeidelbergCement, Shell, Lafarge, Saint Gobain and ArcelorMittal, to commercialise ACT throughout Europe, North America and Asia.” 

Hills added: “This is a huge vote of confidence in the technology which mineralises carbon, gives wastes value and is a unique example of innovative UK low-carbon technology.

“Being acknowledged globally for our innovation will now spur us on to translate this into successful international trade deals, and support sustainable construction around the world.” 

The Carbon8 Systems team will receive its award from the Lord Lieutenant of Kent and attend a royal reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen later this year. 

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