Irish-founded Material Evolution raises €3m for more durable concrete

Company founded by Dr Elizabeth Gilligan behind effort to create sustainable materials

Material Evolution, an Irish-founded company that has developed “algorithmic concrete”, which is five times more durable than traditional concrete, has secured $3.4 million (€3 million)in investment.

The company, which is based in Teeside, was founded by Dr Elizabeth Gilligan, who was among half a dozen of Irish people included in Forbes's prestigious "30 under 30" list of leading young innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders earlier this year.

Founded in 2017, Material Evolution uses patented geopolymer technology and proprietary algorithms to create more sustainable materials.

The company is focused on creating a sustainable alternative to ordinary concrete through the development of geopolymers. It has developed a product that is made from 95 per cent industrial waste which is stronger and more durable and reduces the carbon consumption of concrete by 85 per cent, when compared with equivalent products.

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, the company’s algorithms allow them to keep material consistency and repeatability in every batch.

There is currently a significant waiting list for the material, with a number of customers in their pipeline due to receive the first 100,000 tonnes of it during year one of production.

Headcount

The financing is to be used to increase headcount, develop more products and set up batch production. It comprises $1.7 million in seed investment and $1.7 million in grant funding.

The round was led by London-based investors Playfair Capital, with participation from At One Ventures, the Heritage Group and SkyRiver Ventures, as well as a number of angels from the construction industry including the Applebridge Construction Group and Milestone Construction.

The grant award came from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, and its Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge.

Concrete is the second most used material in the world after water, and cement equates to about 8 per cent of our global CO2 emissions. We need to build much more sustainably if we are to meet our ambitious NetZero goals,” said Dr Gilligan.

“We were delighted to have a heavily oversubscribed funding round and investors on board who share our vision and our passion to decarbonise the foundation industries through advanced materials. We have also received funding from Innovate UK who are fully dedicated to transforming the foundation industries in order to meet NetZero by 2030,” she added.