Innovation thrives when we pause to observe, question, and reimagine the world around us, turning challenges into opportunities for progress. Nature, in particular, serves as a rich source of inspiration. By observing it, studying its daily challenges, and contemplating its processes, we can discover valuable insights that inspire innovative solutions.
One of these current challenges is the production of concrete, an ancient and extremely popular material that is now accountable for a significant portion of global CO₂ emissions, due to the energy-intensive process of cement production and the chemical reactions involved. It is estimated to be responsible for approximately 8% of the world’s annual CO₂ emissions, pumping 11 million tons of CO₂ into the atmosphere every day and consuming 9% of the world’s annual industrial water usage. In addition, the world’s building stock is expected to double by 2060—the equivalent of building an entire New York City every month for the next 36 years, which means an incredible increase in demand for cement and concrete. Faced with this daunting situation, is there anything we can do? In this article, we speak with Loren Burnett, CEO of Prometheus Materials, which has developed a material that mimics nature’s processes to recreate concrete as we know it.