OLIMENT: THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABLE CEMENT

Shovel with cement powder
Sustainability is becoming a necessity in today's world, and this has given rise to a paradox in the construction industry: concrete is in the spotlight both as a massive cornerstone of modern infrastructure and as a material that is a major climate pollutant. With a share of 8% of global CO2 emissions, concrete production is at the center of many debates on environmental protection. The production of cement, the binding agent that holds sand and gravel together as concrete, is the main source of emissions that pollute our environment.

To eliminate this problem, Oliment is working with Necona, a research company set up by SPRIND: a Leipzig-based company that has dedicated itself to the mission of using disruptive technology to free from ballast, this negative side of cement production. “Oliment’s primary goal is to establish a CO2-negative binding agent for cement applications in the construction industry,” stated Dr. Frank Bellmann, lecturer at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and founder of Oliment. “The first steps included recipe development and the production of a binding agent based on olivine that could be used on a very large scale.”

His doctoral mentor, Prof. Jochen Stark, already implemented a similar project over 30 years ago. This involved transferring so-called coating cements from the laboratory to the application. Similar scaling problems had to be solved back then too. Bellmann and the team are benefiting from this experience and are continuing on the path that Stark and his former colleagues took.
Kiln with cement blocks
In July 2023, the project was successfully financed by SPRIND, and shortly afterwards the Oliment team grew to include CFO Alexander Butt. Under the leadership of both visionaries, the team combines profound knowledge in process engineering, chemistry, and the development of binding agents at an industrial level – a scientific basis as the foundation of Oliment. The driving force is not just technological progress; the team is striving to revolution-ize cement production in the long term. “The amazing commitment and belief in our project have shown us that even from the supposed remoteness of Saxony, we have the power to make a global difference.”, said Alexander Butt.
Recipe cement production
Olivine in a glass

OLIVINE: NOVEL PLAYER IN SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS SCIENCE

Olivine is a component of rocks; a greenish, shimmering mineral, occurring globally in large quantities. What makes olivine so special is its composition: a mixture of magnesium, iron, and silicon oxide makes it possible to produce a binding agent that not only solidifies with water, but also binds carbon dioxide. In contrast to limestone, olivine contains no CO2, meaning that none is released in the production process.

“As a binding agent, olivine can be quickly integrated into existing cement applications to drastically reduce CO2 emissions,” said Frank Bellmann. “Olivine does not require an energy-intensive heating process, which not only eliminates fuel emissions but also reduces dependence on fossil fuels. It can be produced using electrical energy.”
The most current concern is to research how the binding agent can be applied in the cement industry and to explore synergies in connection with other sustainable building materials. This includes developing a complex plant architecture; massive production facilities fill the halls in the small town of Rötha, in the south of Leipzig.

“We are in the process of developing a pilot plant for production on a ton scale as well as prototype plants for producing hundreds of tons per day. The aim is to obtain general approval from the building authorities and to use the binding agent in research and demonstration projects to prove its effectiveness,” stated Alexander Butt. “These systems are both designed for use in scientific studies and tested to demonstrate their suitability for the production of cement.”

Together with SPRIND, the Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation, Oliment's team is setting out to overcome the existing challenges and achieve the overarching goal of reducing CO2 in the cement production process.
cement block
the team

OLIMENT, SPRIND AND NECONA

OLIMENT, SPRIND, AND NECONA
Oliment GmbH has a cooperation agreement with necona, a 100% subsidiary of SPRIND. The project to produce a CO2-free cement and obtain approval from the building authorities for the cement is financed by a loan from SPRIND. All three parties hope that the new SPRIND Freedom Act will provide even more opportunities for financing knowledge transfer in order to take a noticeable step forward in establishing this cement in the coming years.

THIS IS WHY WE ARE COMMITTED
Besides saving CO2 and providing a basis for environmentally friendly construction with Oliment, this new type of cement can help to achieve the climate targets without high investments in carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants. This would be an enormous advantage – not just for Germany.

WHAT WE DO
We are currently financing the production and approval process for Oliment in the form of a pilot plant. Research in such a facility outside of the laboratory scale is a major step towards the approval of Oliment.