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 fller 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.
What is special about the project?
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. 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.
The ngCem Innobooster project, in particular, aims to develop a production model that allows the scaling of the manufacturing process from lab (~ kg) to commercial (~ tons). To do the we needed to establish a well-studied relationship between chemical and physical properties of the additives, physical performance and the production parameters. To do so, the project was divided in three sub categories – detailed characterization of materials, detailed performance testings and large production conditions analysis. Later all of three would be correlated to establish the predictive model. A final part of Innobooster project is also to do expletory project to understand the usage of the material beyond construction in energy storage targeting cost and time reduction. Overall, the innobooster project is an essential key step to enter the commercial arena.
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 2.5m EIC grants, MasChallenge, VentureLab, and VentureKick. Nanogence has successfully proved the advantages of ngCem with potential clients, having consequently generated market pull from +150 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 granted IP covering ngCem technology ensures a complete freedom to operate. Today Nanogence consist of three subsidiaries, in USA, India and China.
Kumar, A., et al., 2017. The atomic-level structure of cementitious calcium silicate hydrate. J. Phys. Chem. C 121 (32), 17188-17196;
Andalibi et al. 2018. On the mesoscale mechanims of synthetic calciuim-silicate-hydrate precipitation: a population balance modeling apporach. Journal of Materials Chemistry A. Issue 2, 2018.
Persons involved in the project
, Project leader, CEO/CTO Nanogence; Ph.D. in Material Science, and engineering from EPFL Lausanne.Irena Milosevic
, Assistant professor HES
Last update to this project presentation 07.04.2022