Robert Niven: CarbonCure Technologies
This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
Robert Niven’s passion for innovation has driven both his educational path and his professional career. As the founder and CEO of CarbonCure Technologies, he helped develop a breakthrough technology that allows concrete producers to reuse CO2 during the manufacturing of concrete. The use of CO2 also improves the quality of the concrete, lowers costs and reduces the overall carbon footprint.
It was during his master’s work in Environmental Engineering at McGill University that Mr. Niven began working to explore the technology that became the foundation for CarbonCure. He invested the last of his student loan money to pursue the commercialization of the technology, and later received both government and private support.
Cement – the active ingredient in concrete – contributes to over 5% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and concrete is the most widely used building material on the planet.
The patented CarbonCure process is used in 35 plants across North America and the product is in use in hundreds of buildings. This innovation allows the concrete industry to improve its product, while reducing its environmental impact – all at a cost equal to traditional concrete. He has received numerous science and business awards, sits on federal advisory boards for innovation, and has presented at dozens of international conferences, including the United Nations climate change negotiations. He is honoured by his award and believes it shows how supportive Canada, and in particular Nova Scotia, is to innovators. “I don’t think I could have seen this kind of success anywhere else.”
Mr. Niven was a 2016 Manning Innovation Award winner.
2016 Manning Innovation Award Winner, Robert Niven