Hydrogen for the Cement Industry – Deep Dive: HiiROC x Cemex Ventures




Hydrogen for the Cement Industry – Deep Dive: HiiROC x Cemex Ventures.


Did you catch wind of this? Hydrogen, the emerging fuel, is set to unlock a potential $2.5 trillion market by 2050, representing an unparalleled energy powerhouse with limitless possibilities. This energy source has been gaining particular significance, especially within the construction industry. 


In our most recent move, we’ve amplified our investment in the cutting-edge clean hydrogen technology startup, HiiROC, one of the Top 50 2021 Contech Startups and Green Construction startups in our investment portfolio. This milestone seeks to increase the adoption of alternative energy fuels in the construction industry and positions Cemex as leader in the use of hydrogen in the cement sector.  


Let’s explore our strategic investment in the disruptive cleantech startup and explore what’s next for Cemex and HiiROC.  


What – does HiiRoc do? 


HiiROC has developed a novel process for low-cost, zero CO2 emission hydrogen production. The startup produces hydrogen through its proprietary process: Thermal Plasma Electrolysis (TPE). 


HiiROC’s hydrogen production process mitigates the drawbacks of steam methane reforming (which results in CO2 emissions) and water electrolysis (which loses the original input power).  


Its TPE Technology is as cost-effective as steam methane reforming but without the need for CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage). Additionally, it consumes a fraction of the energy and costs associated with water electrolysis. Furthermore, the process generates a valuable and emission-free co-product called carbon black, usable in numerous industrial applications. 


Why – has Cemex increased its stake in HiiROC? 


Cemex Ventures, the open innovation arm of Cemex, seeks to establish partnerships and make strategic investments in promising startups that offer innovative technologies and business models that improve efficiency, processes, and operations, but that also adhere to the company’s ambitious climate and sustainability goals. 


This strategic collaboration underscores a mutually advantageous scenario for both: Cemex and HiiROC. 


Through Cemex Ventures, Cemex made its inaugural investment in HiiROC in 2021 with the aim to increase hydrogen injection capacity throughout Cemex’s cement operations, concurrently reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. Fast forward just over 18 months, and Cemex, in collaboration with HiiROC, is gearing up for an extensive implementation of the startup’s thermal plasma technology. The focal point of this deployment will be Cemex’s pivotal cement plant in Rugby, United Kingdom, with immediate plans to extend HiiROC’s innovative technology across its EMEA operations in the medium run, expanding their involvement with the startup. 


How – will HiiROC and Cemex help each other achieve their objectives?     


Thanks to HiiROC’s clean hydrogen technology, potential benefits emerge for the greater cement sector, such as reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. Cemex, by investing in and partnering with this sustainable solution, intends to scale hydrogen injection in its cement kilns and elevate the substitution rate of fossil fuels. 


This collaboration propels Cemex towards achieving the net-zero CO2 status by 2050, as outlined in its Future in Action sustainability program. 


However, the benefits of this partnership are mutual. This agreement seeks to help HiiROC with the following: 


Increased financial investment: The startup secures additional capital essential for its ongoing development. 


Supply for one of the world’s largest materials companies: HiiROC becomes a supplier for a major player in the building materials industry, expanding its networking opportunities and leading strategic opportunities. 


Expertise and specialized knowledge: Acceleration of its learning curve and enhanced market positioning. 


Who – is HiiROC? 


Founded in 2019, HiiROC is a UK-based startup with an innovative hydrogen solution that enables the transition to a ‘Hydrogen Economy’. Its co-founders include Tim Davies (Founder and CEO), Ate Wiekamp (Founder and CSO) and Simon Morris (Founder and CCO). 


The foundation of this startup solution rests on five key pillars: 


  • World leading: Revolutionary tech for carbon-free hydrogen. 
  • Versatile: Applicable across various sectors, including power generation, blending, and industrial decarbonization 
  • Economical: Cost-effective like SMR, no need for CCUS, and significantly lower energy/cost compared to water electrolysis. 
  • Efficient: Centralized or local production reduces costs for transportation, storage, and compression. 
  • Scalable: From small modular units (hundreds of kg/day) up to industrial scale solutions (hundreds of tons/day). 





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