5 min read
Case Study

Carbon Limit’s concrete technology is saving the environment using AI

Carbon Limit co-founders

How this startup is creating long term sustainability using cement

“Starting this company was mission-driven for us - to help decarbonize the industry and do our part to save, protect, and heal the environment,” Carbon Limit co founder Tim Sperry tells us. Tim explains that, for him and his co founders, Oro Padron and Christina Stavridi, the mission is personal. He says, “I’ve lost family members to polluted air, Oro has his own story, Christina has her own story, and our other core team member Angel just had kids. All of us have our own connection to our mission. And with that, we've developed a really strong company culture.”

Carbon Limit’s initial prototype—a portable shipping container fitted with solar panels, filtered media, and intake fans—was a direct air capture system that captured and stored CO2 in concrete as a permanent storage solution to CO2 in the air.

Today, Carbon Limit is evolving to create sustainable solutions to decarbonize the concrete industry. Their flagship product, CaptureCrete, is an additive that gives concrete the ability to capture and store CO2 directly from the air.

“With CaptureCrete technology, we’re lowering the carbon footprint of concrete projects - including data centers, roads, homes and buildings. It actually pays to use our technology: you’re quantifiably lowering the carbon footprint and improving the environment, and you can make money from these carbon credits.”

How Carbon Limit uses AI

The race against climate change is a race against time, as co founder and CMO Oro explains, “We are in an industry that moves at a pace that when technology catches up, sometimes it’s too late.”

AI is helping Carbon Limit to accelerate their technology and improve and find new ways to communicate and apply new technologies. Using AI, they are building vast systems in the backend that speed up the technology and find new ways to make use of their human resources.

“We have found that AI actually is not eliminating, it is creating—it is letting our own people discover things about themselves and possibilities that they didn’t know about,” says Oro. “We embrace AI because we are embracing the future, and we strive to be pioneers in that as well.”

AI also allows for transparency in a space that can become congested by unreliable data. “We’re developing backend tools, specifically the digital MRV, which stands for monitoring, reporting, and verification of carbon credits,” says Tim. “There is bad press that there’s a lot of fake or unverified carbon credits being sold, generated, or created.”

AI gives real-time, real-world data, exposure, and quantification of the carbon credits Carbon Limit is generating with hard tech, bringing trust into tech.

Carbon Limit comprises a team of developers, programmers, and data scientists working across multiple operating systems, so they needed a centralized system for collaborating. “Google Workspace has allowed us to build our own CRMs with Google Sheets and Google Docs, which we’ve found to be the easiest way to onboard quickly. Google has been an amazing tool for us to communicate internally.” Additionally Oro explains their use of Google Cloud: “We have some models that were made in Python, but utilizing Google Cloud has helped us predict models faster.”

Christina adds, “We have a small but diverse team with ages that vary. Not every single team member is used to using the same tools, so the way Oro has onboarded the team and utilized these tools in a customizable way where they’re easily adoptable and used by every single team member to optimize our work has been super beneficial.”

Carbon Limit joined the Google for Startups Accelerator: Climate Change program in 2022. “The accelerator program gave us valuable resources and guidance on what we can do, how we can do it, and what not to do,” says Tim. “The mentorship and learning from people who developed the technology, use the technology, and work with it every day was invaluable for us.” Christina adds, “The mentors also helped us refine our pitch when communicating our solution on different platforms. That was very useful to understand how to speak to different customers and investors.”

Before Carbon Limit started the program, they were thinking about integrating AI and ML into their process but wanted to ensure that they were making the right decision. The accelerator validated the importance of integrating AI and ML and thus they began implementing the technology post program. “The accelerator helped us realize exactly what we needed to do,” says Oro. Participating in the program also gave Carbon Limit access to resources that helped enhance their SEO. “We learned how to increment our backlinks and how to improve performance, which has been extremely helpful to put us on the map,” says Oro. “Our whole backbone has been built thanks to Google Workspace.”

The program also got Carbon Limit a new client: Google. “That was critical because with Google as an early adopter, that helped us build a significant amount of credibility and validation,” Tim tells us.

Carbon Limit’s project with Google provides a perfect case study of how the technology works. At Google’s Innovation Center in California, Carbon Limit used their proprietary concrete technology CaptureCrete. This was added to existing concrete work in and around the facility, concentrated on the area leading up to the entrance pathway, which would capture carbon from people walking into the building. Over the following year, the captured CO2 will be mineralized into the walkway, which will both strengthen the concrete and permanently store atmospheric CO2, helping with carbon accountability and carbon capture.

What’s next for Carbon Limit

Tim shares, “I love what I do. I love to be able to invent something that didn’t exist. But more importantly, it helps protect my family, my loved ones, future generations, and the environment. And I get to do it with this amazing group of people at Carbon Limit.”

Looking ahead, Carbon Limit will be launching a new technology that can be used in data centers to mitigate electricity.

“We went from a carbon capture solution for the built environment to sustainable solutions for the built environment because we wanted to go even bigger,” says Tim. “We want to inspire others to do what we’re doing and help create more awareness and a more environmentally friendly world.”

Learn more about Carbon Limit