Carbon8 Systems, the Kent-based world leader in the permanent capture of carbon dioxide using industrial waste and contaminated soils, has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2017.

The company, formed in 2006 and a spin-out from the University of Greenwich, has successfully put its patented Accelerated Carbonisation Technology (ACT) into commercial operation to create the world’s first truly carbon-negative aggregate.

The award will help Carbon8 Systems achieve its vision of creating a global portfolio of waste treatment plants that make a significant contribution to preserving the environment through the permanent capture of waste carbon dioxide (CO2).

Carbon8 Systems’ ACT technology combines CO2 gas with industrial wastes, such as cement dusts, steel slags, oil shale ash, incinerator ash or paper ash, and contaminated soils to form new products. They can then be used as carbon negative construction materials by the building industry, thus protecting natural resources, removing the waste from landfill and promoting sustainable construction.

ACT was developed by Professor Colin Hills, technical director of Carbon8 Systems and Dr Paula Carey, the company’s managing director, in the School of Engineering & Science, at the Medway campus of the University of Greenwich.

Announcing receipt of the award, Dr Paula Carey, said: “The Queen’s Awards are recognised around the world and provide customers with confidence of a company’s commercial and technological edge. Having successfully commercialised ACT for one specific waste stream in the UK, we are now working with some of the largest businesses in the world, including HeidelbergCement, Shell, Lafarge, Saint Gobain and ArcelorMittal, to commercialise ACT throughout Europe, North America and Asia.”

Carbon8 Systems has been at the forefront of promoting carbonation as one of the most effective carbon dioxide utilisation (CCU) technologies to help manage carbon dioxide emissions; with contributions to the UN GEO6 report, the Global Carbon Initiative (GCI) report, and several reports to the UK government. The company is also a founding member of the European Association for Carbon Dioxide Transformation (ASCOT).

In 2010, Carbon8 Systems licensed the technology to Carbon8 Aggregates, who then built the world’s first commercially operational ACT plant at Brandon in Suffolk, supported by investment from Grundon Waste Management. A second ACT plant opened at Avonmouth, near Bristol in 2016, and a third plant, in Leeds, has recently been granted planning permission.

Professor Hills added: “This is a huge vote of confidence in the technology which mineralises carbon, gives wastes value, and is a unique example of innovative UK low-carbon technology.Being acknowledged globally for our innovation will now spur us on to translate this into successful international trade deals, and support sustainable construction around the world.”

The Carbon8 Systems team will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Kent and attend a royal reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by Her Majesty the Queen later in 2017.