Governments are backing companies with good concrete-tech; these small caps are on the radar
Concrete is the second most consumed element on earth after water.
This is because it is a critical element in the construction of infrastructure projects.
And with the push to reduce emissions globally, governments are turning to the companies that are focusing on stronger and less emissions intensive solutions.
Sustainable infrastructure play Calix (ASX:CXL) has developed a technology known as Project LEILAC (Low Emissions Intensity Lime and Cement).
As its name suggests this technology reduces carbon dioxide emissions from cement.
This week the New South Wales government pointed to the company’s tech in its Net Zero Plan. This is the state government’s plan to reach zero net emissions by 2050 while still growing jobs and the economy.
The report noted it involved minimal changes to the conventional process for manufacturing. Also, it has no significant capital costs or additional energy consumption.
“It has tremendous potential for deployment in cement, lime and similar mineral processing applications, not just in New South Wales, but also around the world,” the report said.
NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean backed up these comments. “We stand ready to support businesses that want to remain competitive while reducing their carbon emissions and through technologies like this they can make that transition,” he said.
Calix CEO Phil Hodgson said this was an important step for New South Wales and Australia.
He also noted other jurisdictions and companies pledging net zero emissions would increase the need for technologies such as LEILAC.
Besides being strong, concrete also needs to be durable enough to sustain infrastructure for years.
This is the focus for Eden Innovations (ASX:EDE).
Eden’s solution, EdenCrete, aims to improve the strength and durability of concrete used in infrastructure, particularly roads and bridges.
The additive is particularly useful for infrastructure with exposure to extreme weather, high use or exposure to salt.
As of mid-June it has been approved in 20 US states, with Massachusetts being the most recent to approve it.
While this is still a minority of US states, it represents about 69,971 bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and 47 per cent of such bridges in the US.
Despite the US economy copping a heavier blow than expected from COVID-19, business has gone on for Eden.
Although the company had to halt some individual projects, the business was able to avoid completely shutting down.
“It has affected us, there is no doubt at all. A lot of our customers have been impacted. But it hasn’t affected our ability to operate,” Eden boss Greg Solomon told Stockhead last week.
Solomon also said the US infrastructure sector could receive economic stimulus and his company may be a beneficiary of that. But this isn’t a “make or break” for Eden considering the progress it has made in recent years.
“If you look at our announcements we’ve made significant progress, obviously with the departments of transportation, all the approvals in place and we have trials in a number of states. We are used in a number of states,” he said.
“I do think there is likely to be a reasonable amount of money. How much I don’t know, but they’re talking large numbers to go into infrastructure and I think we could be well placed to participate.
“But there always is a qualifying period with any project, you need to make sure your product works with the particular concrete mix and for the particular application they’re looking at. But what we’ve done so far over the last five years I think leaves us in a good position for handling that [impact] should it happen.”