Circular Transition Award winner announced
MCi Carbon has won The Banksia Foundation’s Circular Transition Award at the 34th National Banksia Sustainability Awards, recognising its carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) methods achieved at the Pilot Plant Facility in Newcastle. The National Banksia Sustainability Awards seek out and recognises innovation and leadership through the lens of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
By using a chemical engineering process called mineral carbonation, MCi creates inputs into building materials and other products using captured industrial emissions. The company’s technology reacts CO2 from steel, cement, fertilisers and mining facilities with mineral by-products of industrial processes, such as steel slag and mine tailings to divert carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. MCi can then create carbon neutral and negative emissions calcium and magnesium carbonates, amorphous silicas, and other inputs for a range of applications in the circular carbon economy.
Following the award of a $14.6m Australian federal government grant to build a mineral carbonation demonstration plant, the company has grown significantly. In February, MCi announced a multimillion-dollar investment from RHI Magnesita and signed up the Austrian company as its first global commercial customer. In March, Mizuho Bank invested US$5m, recognising that development and social implementation of CCU technology is necessary to achieve carbon neutrality in hard-to-abate sectors.
Banksia Foundation CEO Graz van Egmond said the award winners were drawn from a record number of entries, demonstrating optimism and hope for a brighter future despite fears for the economy in the short term. He labelled them as “Australia’s brightest leaders” in making a positive impact.
MCi Carbon’s research Pilot Plant is where the team conducts intensive industrial programs to refine the mineral carbonation process, deliver customer projects and generate low-carbon materials for product testing. MCi has also won the NSW Clean Technology Award, presented by the Banksia Foundation.
The plant is located at the University of Newcastle’s NIER facility and it reacts industrial emissions with feedstocks to create both carbonates and silica by-products for use in building materials, such as concretes and plasterboards.
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