Novacem: Carbon negative cement

Novacem: Carbon negative cement

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

This week, we explore the progress of Novacem, the London based “green cement” manufacturer. On April 22nd, 2010, the company received an appropriate Earth Day honor: Novacem was named a Top 10 Emerging Technology by MIT’s Technology Review Magazine.

“The annual TR10 spotlights the emerging technologies we find most exciting. These are the innovations most likely to alter industries, fields of research, and even the way we live and work,” said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review magazine. “We celebrate the innovators making these accomplishments possible and look forward to their continued advancement within their respective fields.”

I caught up with Novacem’s Chairman, Stuart Evans at the AlwaysOn GoingGreen Conference in Sausalito last year to explore the company’s “secret sauce” and how it plans to compete with Khosla’s “favorite child,” Los Gatos based Calera. Here is the newly released video of our conversation.

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At the conference last yearVinod Khosla, the green investment guru, was asked to name the company with the greatest chance of becoming the next Green Microsoft  while onstage at the GoingGreen Conference in Sausalito.  He declined to name his “favorite child” but did praise Calera, the green cement maker he’s backing; and spoke about the huge potential growth in this sector. Since cement production creates 2.5 billion tons of CO2 annually,  representing  5% of manmade sources, it offers great potential in both climate change impact and market opportunity.

Stuart Evans, Chairman of Novacem, shares Vinod’s bullishness about the market for green cement. This British entrepreneur has assembled a team from Imperial College, London (he dubs it the MIT of  the UK) and claims to have invented a carbon negative cement.

How does Novacem technology differ from Calera’s?

“The big play at Calera is that they want to go next to power stations to absorb the carbon dioxide there (carbon sequestration)… We’re making cement without a carbonate based feedstock. Vinod was talking about his materials being used in aggregate applications; we’re really replacing Portland Cement…we’re in the same space, we’re not head to head…we’re possibly even complementary. Besides, in a 2.5 billion (volume/ $150Billion) market, there are room for a couple of players…”

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Fresh Dialogues Interviews at GoingGreen Conference 2009

 

Why is Novacem carbon negative?

“Our cement doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, it absorbs carbon dioxide. We start with the material magnesium silicate (not calcium carbonate)… they have no carbon in them,  so right there we’ve got a stunning advantage. We only work at 800 degrees centigrade (compared to Portland Cement which requires 1400 degrees) so the energy sources we can use include biomass fuels which have a much greener footprint. ..We add a magic sauce to it (a mineral additive) which means that the cement absorbs carbon dioxide rather rapidly.”

The importance of team

“The team is everything; money is important but the team is even more important.”

Vinod Khosla and Tony Perkins, at GoingGreen 09 -Fresh Dialogues

On Vinod Khosla’s expertise

“We are tremendously flattered that Vinod is following our lead and investing in green cement.” (A display of typical British humor here)

For more Fresh Dialogues interviews and transcript with Vinod Khosla, click here

For other interviews recorded at the conference:

Tony Perkins of AlwaysOn

David Chen of Morgan Stanley

The interview was recorded at the GoingGreen Conference, Sausalito on September 15, 2009. The background sound you hear is nautical ‘music’ from buoys, as container ships make their way under the Golden Gate Bridge.

For more info on Green Cement, check out these links

Earth2Tech

The Next Big Future

Vinod Khosla: Cleantech Wisdom

Vinod Khosla: Cleantech Wisdom

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Vinod Khosla recently announced a new member of his Khosla Ventures team: none other than former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who has been a vocal proponent of action to combat climate change. According to reports, Blair will be a paid advisor and will add his eloquence and global connections to Khosla’s plans to change the world through cleantech investments.

This from Dana Hull at the Mercury News:

“I’m absolutely thrilled, honored and delighted to team up with Vinod and the people he has working for him,” Blair said before taking the stage for a “fireside chat” with executives from six companies in Khosla Ventures’ vast portfolio. “Vinod is one of the most creative, dynamic and extraordinary people I’ve ever met in my life… the answers to climate change and energy security lies in the technological innovations. I am thrilled to play whatever small part I can.”

Chances are, Blair will play much more than a “small part” in keeping global warming and the need for cleantech innovation front and center. His eloquence and British accent will no doubt help. But he’ll be keeping his distance from his fellow Brits at BP who have created an environmental disaster.

Here is an interview from the Fresh Dialogues archives which explores Vinod’s motivations for investing in Bloom Energy, future predictions and his concern about cleantech bubbles.

Click here for the FULL TRANSCRIPT
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The interview was recorded at the SDForum Visionary Awards in June 2009.

To see many other exclusive videos at the FRESH DIALOGUES CHANNEL  click here

SEE THE VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE – A FRESH DIALOGUES EXCLUSIVE –

1. Bloom Energy: Fuel Cell Technology

2. Bloom Energy: Affordability is Essential Video

3. Bloom Energy: Mission to Change the World Video

For a full archive of interviews with Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, Martin Sheen and many others click here

Maureen Dowd: Talks Green

Maureen Dowd: Talks Green

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

This week, we take a look at the Fresh Dialogues archives. Last April, I met with the enchanting Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Maureen Dowd. We had an animated conversation during a green-themed morning in downtown San Jose. Over cups of delicious mint tea, we discussed Maureen’s Irish heritage and how that inspires her fiery prose. We also discussed her belief in America’s green future.

In this excerpt, we discuss fellow New York Times Columnist, Tom Friedman (whom she describes as “her office husband”) and his new book, Hot, Flat & Crowded.

“I try to get advice from Tom Friedman who is Mr. Solar around our office. He’s done a new book which is very involved with energy and his whole house is solar designed… I ask him and he’s trying to coach me in how to be more environmentally correct.”

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“This was the first campaign I’ve ever covered where I’d go and watch Hillary and Obama in the primary and they were both competing to come up with a plan for green jobs and for me it’s very exciting because for the eight years that Bush and Cheney were in it felt like we were going backwards in every way. You know we weren’t coming into the 21st Century and we were kinda like the Flintstones – we were just not moving forward. So I love all that.”

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To read the TRANSCRIPT of the full interview click here

To see many other exclusive videos at the FRESH DIALOGUES CHANNEL  click here

For a full archive of interviews with Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, Martin Sheen and many other celebrities click here

Adam Jackson: Go Green with Twitter

Adam Jackson: Go Green with Twitter

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

I caught up with Twitter officianado, Adam Jackson at SDForum’s Teens Plugged in Conference last year. Since then, he’s founded TweetForMyBiz, a social media consultancy, based in San Francisco.

Moderator at this year’s conference, Mike Cassidy wrote an excellent column in the San Jose Mercury News about how teens embrace fearlessness in Silicon Valley. He writes:

“Tech CEOs have done plenty of hand-wringing about our schools’ declining ability to turn out the thinkers we need to keep innovation robust…The young entrepreneurs at the SDForum conference don’t make those worries go away, but they are a reason to hold onto hope. They are a generation that embraces the optimism, fearlessness and drive that have built Silicon Valley.”

Adam Jackson, who uprooted from Florida to San Francisco to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams as a young teen, is a great example of this fearlessness.

In this interview from the Fresh Dialogues archives, Adam talks about how to become a green influencer.

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“If you have an idea to be more green, help the earth, then go for it, and try it out. See what happens and talk about it. That’s how you become an influencer, that’s how you become an expert. It’s not by re-quoting other people’s things. Or by trying to figure it out, maybe dabbling in it. You just have to jump head first.”

To read more on Adam, click here or here

Check out the new Fresh Dialogues YouTube Channel

Jeffrey Toobin: Kagan, Supreme Court & Environment

Jeffrey Toobin: Kagan, Supreme Court & Environment

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

I sat down with Supreme Court expert, Jeffrey Toobin, to discuss the court’s environmental record and Obama’s likely pick for the Supreme Court to replace Justice Stevens. Without skipping a beat, Toobin said his No. 1 pick is Solicitor General, Elena Kagan.

Just one week later, Justice Stevens announced his retirement and Toobin’s pick became the front runner. Time will tell if he’s right. Obama is expected to  announce his nominee very soon.

Click here for an interview TRANSCRIPT

Why will Obama pick Elena Kagan?

“She’s former Dean of Harvard Law School (Obama’s alma mater), very much an Obama type person – moderate Democrat, a consensus builder…”

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Is Elena Kagan an environmentalist?

“My sense is that it’s not an issue that has come across her plate a lot…she’s someone who has written on administration law which tends to mean she’s a believer in the power of the Federal Government to regulate.” Jeffrey Toobin

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The interview took place at Dick Henning’s Foothill College Celebrity Forum in Silicon Valley on April 1, 2010. For more Fresh Dialogues interviews with business leaders and experts check out Fresh Dialogues YouTube Channel

And here is an ARCHIVE of interviews with Paul Krugman, Tom Friedman, KR Sridhar and many others