Neustark stores CO2 in concrete with Microsoft’s support

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The Swiss startup neustark specializes in fossilizing atmospheric CO2 in recycled concrete. The company receives support as part of the “Microsoft for Startups” program and uses cloud services such as Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365. In addition, Microsoft announced a carbon removal collaboration with neustark in the context of its annual sustainability report.

Neustark is an ETH Zurich spin-off founded in 2019 by Johannes Tiefenthaler and Valentin Gutknecht. The two young entrepreneurs were brought together by their shared vision of a solution for recycling and storing CO₂. “Seven percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions come from concrete production,” says Valentin Gutknecht. “As a building material, concrete is more in demand than ever – at the same time, it is one of the biggest climate killers.”

In 2020, neustark commissioned its first mobile pilot plant, which has since been successfully tested by numerous building material recyclers in Switzerland and Europe, so that the first stationary and highly scaled-up customer plants can soon be commissioned. CO2-storing concrete has already been used in numerous private and public construction projects. Thus, neustark enables the removal of CO₂ from the atmosphere and its permanent storage in recycled concrete granulate.

However, the company also relies on customers to purchase CO2 certificates. Microsoft announced in its global sustainability report that it will purchase such certificates from neustark – you can find the carbon removal whitepaper here. For Microsoft, both CO2 reductions and negative emission technologies are critical to its goal of removing more CO2 from the atmosphere than it emits by 2030. Microsoft selected neustark’s technology-based carbon removal solution because the service can be delivered as early as 2022 and has significant scaling potential. “As one of the first companies to source Carbon Removal, Microsoft is committed to solutions with maximum integrity and durability. Solutions like those from neustark can provide these attributes today, not years from now,” said Elizabeth Willmott, Carbon Program Director at Microsoft.

Furthermore, the collaboration between neustark and Microsoft continues on a local level: neustark is part of the Swiss “Microsoft for Startups” program and in this context receives free access to the Azure Cloud. “That’s where all the automated interfaces of our operational data run, which lets us determine the volume of CO2 removed, among other things,” Gutknecht explains.

Additionally, neustark also relies on Microsoft 365 as a collaboration solution and is currently implementing Dynamics 365 Business Central to cover its immediate as well as future resource planning needs. “For us, however, it is not only important that the product is right – but also that we have contact with people at Microsoft who share our philosophy of sustainability and have the right expertise in carbon removal,” says Gutknecht.

“To change the trend of global warming, it is essential to help innovative startups and technologies to enter the market quickly with a scalable product,” says Tim Moser, Program Manager for Microsoft for Startups Switzerland. “That’s why we’re excited to partner with neustark, who are helping us and other organizations move toward a sustainable future.”

Microsoft’s full 2021 Sustainability Report can be found here.

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