Green cement based on raw clay, concrete project of startup Matterup

According to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, the construction sector emits more than 123 million tons of CO2 every year. A figure that places it among the most polluting activities, for example in transport. For the production of cement, which is part of the concrete, it must, for example, be heated to 1400°C for thirteen hours, which is a very energy intensive process. Mathieu Neuville, one of the founders of the startup Matterup in Landes, was interested in raw clay, which is available in abundance, to develop an alternative product.

Former Research Engineer in Research and Development at Laffarge and later at Total, Mathieu Neuville spent four years working with associations, artisans and design offices. “We combine this clay with an activator and a precursor, this mixture allows for a cold reaction without cooking and achieves the desired mechanical properties,” he explains, without revealing any secrets to making the formula protected by 35 international patents. This clay-based cement, whether sourced from local quarries or excavated, is then extracted without boiling and is thus a low carbon solution.

Launch of the pilot site in February 2022

Created at the end of 2018 and quickly supported by major partners such as the Region, the Department or the Ministry of Ecological Transition, it has raised over one million euros in 2020. In 2021, he launched his first pilot plant in St. Petersburg. -Jor-de-Maremnes, in the Landes. The company, which employs 17 people, started producing cement and concrete based on raw clay in February 2022. , megablocks for making retaining walls for embankments, dams, etc., explains Julie Neuville, partner and responsible for communications and marketing at Materrup. . We also offer benches for installation in public places. »

The goal is to show that these products can be used immediately by being willing to work with concreters and concreters to help those who want to make the transition. A marketplace was also created for direct sales to craftsmen as well as individuals. “We want to democratize low carbon materials and make them easier to market,” explains Mathieu Neuville.

New plants in operation

The mechanical and energy characteristics of this clay-based concrete are the same as conventional concrete, and its price is currently “equivalent to premium mass-dyed concrete,” notes Julie Neuville. The massization of production will automatically lead to lower costs, which will be partially transferred to the final price. “There was a real need to provide a certified solution [par le centre scientifique et technique du bâtiment CSTB] and economic, says Mathieu Neuville. But builders and architects wanted to build differently. »

Materrup’s development plan, which currently employs about ten people, is to set up small factories near major cities to supply them with “green” concrete, in particular to limit transport-related carbon emissions. Projects are planned in the regions of Paris, Toulouse and Bordeaux, some of which may come out of the ground as early as 2023. Cherry on the cake: Concrete made from local clay will take on different colors depending on the nature of the soil. , rather pink in Toulouse and yellow in Bordeaux. This should add some color next to the uniform gray of traditional concrete.