Scientists put the increase in warming that the earth can tolerate at 1.5 degrees – just 0.5 degrees above that, and the frequency of extreme weather with the disappearance of more animal species will increase exponentially.

This is why we are seeing a growing consensus across industries on the subjects of ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) and carbon reduction, two areas in which enterprises need to make strong efforts to maintain a competitive edge. The cement and construction industry, however, plays an especially critical role.

According to statistics from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the construction industry, putting it higher than manufacturing and logistics, and 9% comes from construction’s core resource – concrete. The chemical reaction needed to create the raw materials and the high-temperature combustion that produces the finished concrete both produce an unavoidably high amount of carbon.

That’s why the cement industry is eager to find solutions and shuck the labels of being a big carbon emitter and the world’s most polluting industry. The mainstream approach at the moment is to collect CO2 emitted during the production process for reuse or storage, though as this is a high energy-consuming process, it can only be credited with damage reduction at best.

But Partanna, a new venture invested in by Cherubic, is leading a sea change.

Partanna was co-founded by former NBA star and the Bahamas Ambassador-at-large, Rick Fox, and architect Sam Marshall. They discovered by chance that brine, the byproduct of seawater desalination, can be turned into a new form of building materials when combined with waste steel. The new building material can make coastal houses more resistant to hurricanes and seawater erosion.

Because of its extremely high salt content, brine can be deadly to marine life in areas rich with the chemical, with brine pools even being described by experts as “death pools”. Dealing with brine has been a major pain point for island nations that rely on desalination to provide clean drinking water. But Partanna’s technology is helping to repurpose brine into a building material that can absorb carbon. Not only does Partanna skirt the need for high-temperature combustion in the production process, it can directly absorb CO2 from the air, generating carbon credits. This means it reduces emissions as well as earns carbon-negative status. Compared to a house built with traditional concrete, which can emit 70.2 tons of CO2, a 1,250 sq ft house built with Partanna can remove 22.5 tons of CO2.

At the recent COP27 climate summit held in Egypt, Prime Minister Philip Davis of the Bahamas announced that his government will partner with Partanna to create the world’s first carbon-negative housing development plan, building 1,000 houses made with Partanna building materials.

And in June of this year, Partanna officially signed a cooperation agreement with Red Sea Global for its Red Sea and Amaala tourism development project. Partanna will provide carbon-negative building materials for the largest planned botanical garden in the area, with an estimated area of one million square meters and over 30 million plants to be planted by 2030. The goal of this collaboration is to create a holiday destination on the island while ensuring the preservation of the ecological environment.

As of the end of 2022, c’s carbon-negative building materials have obtained global carbon credits certification from Verra, a globally-recognized carbon standards organization. The carbon credits obtained from the aforementioned Bahamas project were listed on the carbon trading platform, Patch, in June of this year. Due to the unique technological features of Partanna’s building materials, they are currently available for trading in two types of carbon credits:

“Avoidance” and “Removal.”

The revenue generated by the startup’s carbon credits will be used for various social impact projects as well as to help low-income families solve the problem of finding affordable housing. Furthermore, Partanna is already in negotiations with some of the world’s top ten companies with regard to market value for carbon credit purchases.

Forests and marine algae have been designated as blue carbon and green carbon, respectively, for their ability to absorb CO2. Now, we have “gray carbon” in the form of building materials capable of absorbing CO2 through sustainable building materials. New technologies like Partanna are making development and sustainability no longer a single-choice question.

Matt Cheng is Founder and General Partner of Cherubic Ventures. Matt is a Taiwanese venture investor, serial entrepreneur, company advisor, and former junior tennis player. Prior to founding Cherubic, Matt co-founded Tian-Ge in China and 91APP in Taiwan, both went public at over $1B+ in market cap. Matt is also a company advisor to Wish and Atomic VC, as well as an early investor in Flexport, Calm, and Hims & Hers.

TechNode Global INSIDER publishes contributions relevant to entrepreneurship and innovation. You may submit your own original or published contributions subject to editorial discretion.

AI assistants can be students’ personal Socrates