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Innocem – Smart catalyst for sustainable construction


Für den Inhalt der Angaben zeichnet die Projektleitung verantwortlich.


This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: EPFL; Nanogence; Haute école du paysage, d'ingénierie et d'architecture de Genève (hepia)


  • Projekt-Nr: GRS-027/20 
  • Förderbeitrag: CHF 150'000 
  • Bewilligung: 27.04.2020 
  • Dauer: 09.2020 - 12.2022 
  • Handlungsfeld:  InnoBooster, seit 2018



Concrete is the most consumed manufactured substance on the planet. Concrete is affordable, strong, durable and resilient to fire, floods and pests. In fact, there is no other material currently available in the quantities necessary to meet the demand for buildings and infrastructure. Concrete is therefore today irreplaceable, and cement works as the glue that binds the concrete’s aggregates together. However, while cement has shaped much of our cities and infrastructures, it also has a massive carbon footprint. The chemical process of making cement emits staggeringly high levels of CO2 being the source of 8% of the world's CO2 emissions. The biggest challenge and opportunity lie in tweaking the recipe for cement in order to establish a much more environmentally friendly manufacturing process. Our additive innovation allows to formulate new classes of sustainable cements capable of tuning the bulk physical properties of cement during preparation while improving its performance. First, nanogence's additive offers a game-changing innovation in the cement production by drastically improving the compressive strength of cement up to 50% allowing the inclusion of more filler and reducing the clinker factor that directly reduce the CO2 emmisions. Whether it is for drying time, hardness or uniformity, the innovative additive developed by nanogence can give to the construction material the desired consistency, all in one shot. As the cement industry is responsible for 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions, this project is addressing these two critical challenges, helping the sector to improve performance while meeting environmental legislations. Thanks to a scalable business case and a network of partners and providers, nanogence is entering the global market through collaborations with the global cement producers, aiming to reach 4% of the global market share by 2026.

Was ist das Besondere an diesem Projekt?

NgCem is a revolutionary performance-enhancing additive that is added during cement production to improve the compressive strength, durability, binding capacity and longevity of the structures built out of cement. ngCem however is much more than that: nanogence´s nanotechnology allows a new chemical structure and growth process at the atomic-level of the cementitious material. This innovation is key to formulate new classes of sustainable cements capable of tuning the bulk physical properties of concrete during preparation and improving its performance once hardened. The general objective of the ngCem project is contributing for a sustainable transition of the cement industry. ngCen additive changes the game in cement production, offering cement producers a way to pivot to the low-carbon economy with a competitive edge right at the start of the value chain. The holistic solution proposed by nanogence is addressing the two environmental challenges of the sector: CO2 emissions and energy consumption. Furthermore, the ngCem additive improves the performance (compressive strength, workability, durability) of traditional Portland Cement (PC) while unlocking the adoption of blended cements with a reduced clinker to cement ratio. Key to market acceptance is the cost driving force, and ngCem represents a cement cost cutting production with savings between CHF20-80k/day for a cement kiln. The InnoBooster project, in particular, aims to manufacture a high-production demostrator production unit (FAMP), which will be critical to prove the scalability to our technology and accelerate our market entry. 


Nanogence has developed ngCem as a patented nanotechnology and formulation platform technology to produce a lone additive to obtain an ideal concrete, mortar or cement. nanogence has been recognized by international +10 awards including MasChallenge, VentureLab, and VentureKick. nanogence has successfully proved the advantages of ngCem with potential clients, having consequently generated market pull from +50 multinationals, including major global cement producers where we are currently developing pilot projects. Five out of the 10 top global cement producers are already engaged with Nanogence. The strong IP covering ngCem technology, including 2 patents, ensures a complete freedom to operate. Today, the company counts with an agile management structure, employing 5 people plus 5 additional experts. 


«Avec Nanogence, le beìton est plus durable», PME magazine, April 2020
A unique additive for ideal concrete, EPFL News, 21.12.2016


Am Projekt beteiligte Personen

Abhishek Kumar, Project leader, CEO/CTO Nanogence; Ph.D. in Material Science, and engineering from EPFL Lausanne.
Irena Milosevic, Assistant professor HES

Letzte Aktualisierung dieser Projektdarstellung  18.03.2024