Electrochemical Synthesis of Low-Carbon Cement

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Special Projects
Project Term:
07/19/2021 - 01/18/2023

Critical Need:

This topic seeks to support entrepreneurial energy discoveries, by identifying and supporting disruptive concepts in energy-related technologies within small businesses and collaborations with universities and national labs. These projects have the potential for large-scale impact, and if successful could create new paradigms in energy technology with the potential to achieve significant reductions in U.S. energy consumption, energy-related imports, or energy-related emissions. These specific projects address technology areas across ARPA-E’s mission spaces, with particular focus on: Advanced bioreactors; Approaches and tools to create enhanced geothermal systems; Non-evaporative dehydration and drying technologies; Approaches to significantly enhance the rate and/or potential scale of carbon mineralization; Separation of CO2 from ambient air (direct air capture); High-rate separation of dissolved inorganic carbon from the ocean to produce a CO2 stream; Advanced trees and other engineered biological systems for carbon sequestration; Innovative deep ocean collector designs for mining polymetallic nodules; Environmental sensors capable of operation in deep ocean environments for mining polymetallic nodules; and Non-carbothermic smelting technologies. Awards under this topic are working to support research and establish potential new areas for technology development, while providing ARPA-E with information that could lead to new focused funding programs. The focus of these projects is to support exploratory research to establish viability, proof-of-concept demonstration for new energy technology, and/or modeling and simulation efforts to guide development for new energy technologies.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Cement is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions. Currently, the only economical way to make Portland cement’s key ingredient, lime, is by thermally decomposing limestone. This reaction contributes ~75% of cement’s emissions. Sublime Systems (Sublime) will build an electrochemical system to produce lime using off-peak renewable electricity and calcium sources that do not release CO2. The lime produced may possess exceptional purity, consistency, and reactivity, enabling next-generation low-carbon cements. If successful and scaled, Sublime’s electrochemical synthesis of lime would reduce energy-related emissions in the U.S. from lime and cement making while simultaneously providing ancillary grid services, enabling proliferation of renewables.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Dr. Jesse Benck
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

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