Novacem will use funds to complete pilot plant by the end of 2009 and accelerate development

A UK firm that claims to have developed the world's first carbon-negative cement has raised £1m to continue its research.

Novacem, which is itself a spin-off from Imperial Innovations Group, has raised the cash from Imperial Innovations Group, the London Technology Fund, and the Royal Society Enterprise Fund.

According to the firm, the annual production of over 2.5 billion tonnes of Portland cement is already responsible for 5% of global CO2 emissions, and cement volumes are expected to double by 2050. Novacem's concrete works by using magnesium instead of lime to harden the cement and the firm claims it absorbs 0.7 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne produced.

Stuart Evans, chairman of Novacem, said he was delighted to welcome new shareholders for the business. He said: “They will help us position the company as a dominant provider of carbon-negative cement to the construction industry. We are assembling a world-class team and these funds will help us grow the team, complete an initial pilot plant before the end of 2009 and accelerate development and commercialisation.”

Dr Andrew Mackintosh, Chief Executive of the Royal Society Enterprise Fund, said: "Novacem is based on outstanding science, has enormous potential commercial opportunities but is nevertheless high-risk. If we are serious about using the challenge of climate change to create new businesses in the UK then we have to invest in and encourage companies like Novacem and give them a realistic chance to deliver."