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The ConTech Bulletin with Dalraj Nijjar, Concrete4Change


Welcome to ‘The ConTech Bulletin’ with Jon Ballantyne, a Q&A focused on Construction Technology in the Built Environment.

This Q&A series is an opportunity for our Recruitment Consultant Jon Ballantyne to discuss all things construction technology with some of the lead players in the space. Each week we will ask burning questions, providing a platform to share insight around innovation, sustainability, and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the ConTech industry. 

This week we have been in touch with Dalraj Nijjar, Co-Founder and CCO at Concrete4Change.

Concrete4Change (C4C) is a R&D company that is developing ground-breaking technology to utilise and permanently mineralise CO2 in concrete.

Concrete4Change technology won a wide range of awards including the United Nations (UN) Most Innovative Net-Zero technology – The Climate Challenge Cup at COP26 in Glasgow and Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Award.

Concrete4Change is on a mission to remove 2 billion tonnes of CO2 emission in the concrete industry by 2040 – utilising concrete as the safest form of CO2 sink in the world, and turning one of the world’s biggest emission problems into an emission solution.

How did you find yourself working in the Built World sector? 

It begun during my time as a lead of the Warwick Manufacturing Group Accelerator at the University of Warwick. During my time there, whilst I was work with primarily clean-tech focused startups, that’s where I met my two fellow co-founders Prof. Sid Pourfalah and Dr. Michael Wise, of Concrete4Change.


What does your role entail at Concrete4Change? 

I’m the Chief Commercial Officer, so I’m responsible for business development activities with customers and industry stakeholders, leading on fundraising efforts, managing and executing budgetary controls, building out our business model, and leading on marketing efforts.


What was the mission of Concrete4Change when you created it? And what is unique about your business VS competitors?

The mission of Concrete4Change is to mitigate 2 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in the concrete industry by 2040. On top of this, we want every concrete structure in the world to be a true carbon sink, utilising C4C’s technology to lock away CO2 in concrete forever.

C4C is developing the most novel approach for mineralising CO2 into fresh concrete – permanently locking up CO2 and reducing cement content needed in concrete. As far as we’re aware, we are the only advanced materials startup that’s working at the intersection of carbon capture, carbon utilisation and concrete chemistry. We’re tackling the emissions problem in cement and concrete from the fundamental first principles which many in the industry have avoided as it’s one of the hardest problems to solve.


Can you share some insights into the specific technological innovations that your company has brought to the built world industry?

C4C has developed novel carrier materials that are designed to absorb CO2 and then release CO2 slowly into fresh concrete when mixed as an additive. Through this procedure, we can increase the strength of the cement in concrete, meaning less cement is needed to produce the same strength grade as before. Our technology is at the laboratory scale, but we are now embarking on the scale-up stage to the pilot.


With sustainability becoming increasingly important, how does your company address this topic?

Our technology directly contributes to push for sustainability. Our carrier materials are derived from abundantly available low-cost waste streams, using these materials as precursors, and then loading them with CO2 from industrial sources – our target in the future is to utilise flue gas emitted during cement production. Where possible, we are trying to turn waste into value via our technological approach


What does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion mean to you? What value does it bring to you and your team?

It means bring together the most talented, hard-working, and well-grounded people to work on and solve the hard technical problems in front of us. It brings us a diversity of thought which is incredibly important in a fast-paced environment, and we are building a meritocratic culture for all levels of employee – if you work hard, achieve great things and help others, you will be rewarded no matter what your background, race, gender or other characteristics may be.

The results are already starting to come to fruition. We people working in the team who originate from all over the globe – France, Italy, Netherlands, Iran, Pakistan, Lithuania, Algeria, and of course the UK. 30% of the team are also female which is above average for our sector. This goes to show that if you bring on the best people without harmful or unnecessary bias, you will more than likely end up with a diverse team.


What does the coming year hold for your company? What are your expansion plans?

C4C is aiming to scale-up its top performing carrier material from the ‘grams’ scale to the multiple ‘kilogram’ scale. In doing so, we will complete a few concrete trials in partnership with future customers such as Goldbeck. On top of this, we will be agreeing commercial agreements with future customers to secure a pipeline of demand for the C4C technology in readiness from scaling up to the industrial ‘tonne’ scale.


Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the Built World industry?

Move fast and iterate quickly, challenge existing convention where you see the deficiencies, don’t be afraid if you’re an industry ‘outsider’ – if anything that is your biggest advantage – you will see things differently and better able to spot the gaps and opportunities.

LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!

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