Irish start-up Silicate wins climate-focused US challenge

10 Mar 2023

Silicate science lead Prof Frank McDermott and founder Maurice Bryson. Image: Silicate

Silicate founder Maurice Bryson is in Austin, Texas this weekend to showcase the start-up’s technology on the world stage.

Sligo-based carbon removal company Silicate has just won a US-based start-up challenge focused on climate-tech.

Silicate was announced as one of only two start-ups to win the Thrive/Shell Climate-smart Agriculture Challenge 2023 under the ‘game changer’ category. The other winner was US-based Gazelle, a climate-tech start-up focused on ecological restoration.

Winners were selected after a global search and applicant pool of nearly 400 start-ups from across 63 countries. As a winner, Silicate will receive up to $100,000 in funding as well as a chance to be on accelerator programmes with the opportunity for further investments.

The challenge aims to recognise and support innovations that are transforming climate-friendly agricultural practices and align with strategies laid down by both Shell as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Winners were selected based on their ability to meet three criteria: promote carbon sequestration while improving soil health, improve farm connectivity to carbon markets and financing, and building tech that can measure and quantify soil carbon and health.

Silicate founder Maurice Bryson, who will be in Austin, Texas this weekend to showcase the technology, said winning the competitive challenge is a “huge vote of confidence” in business.

“The world needs carbon removal technologies to meet global climate goals, and this injection of non-dilutive funding gives us a fantastic opportunity to further scale our technology and to maximise the impact we can have across new potential markets,” Bryson said.

Silicate was recently featured as a Start-up of the Week. Bryson said during the interview in January that Silicate is the world’s first company to use returned concrete as a weathering agent to sequester carbon at scale.

“The idea of using crushed returned concrete instead of volcanic material is entirely novel, and the technology is potentially disruptive,” he said.

“Simultaneously [it addresses] the need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere while utilising a highly alkaline low-value construction waste product that is frequently landfilled or used for low-value filler applications.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic