Announcing ClimateCrete: A Collaboration Between William McDonough and Jorge Gascon at KAUST

Sustainable construction aggregates startup ClimateCrete Inc. announced on December 5, 2023, the close of a $3.3 million series A funding round led by Capital K, a Silicon Valley VC firm specializing in deep tech startups, and joined by KAUST Innovation Ventures, the venture arm of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

The firm also announced the appointment of its first CEO, Peter Hadrovic, a veteran Silicon Valley CEO, startup advisor and attorney.

ClimateCrete™ makes concrete production sustainable and more climate friendly thanks to a patent-pending technology that uses abundant local sand, instead of increasingly scarce imported sand, in a formulation that requires less cement, the main source of concrete’s CO2 footprint. Compared to conventional concrete, ClimateCrete has a significantly reduced carbon footprint and costs no more than comparable products.

“ClimateCrete’s technology transforms abundant but unusable local sand into a precious new commodity for the construction industry worldwide,” said Patrick Suel, Capital K’s Managing Director. “The resulting concrete is stronger while reducing CO2 global emissions. Considering that the world is fast running out of construction sand, ClimateCrete is poised to radically change the economics and environmental impact of concrete applications.”

ClimateCrete’s technology was developed at KAUST in the laboratory of co-founder Jorge Gascon, Professor and Director at the KAUST Catalysis Center. His research was inspired by the fact that the vast sands of the Arabian peninsula were not, until now, suitable for use in concrete.

“Currently, only 5 percent of the world’s sand can be used for concrete. At ClimateCrete, we have developed technology that modifies the surface of the sand particles, making a much more durable and stable concrete” said Professor Gascon. “ClimateCrete’s modification process improves the quality of the concrete and reduces the need for cement, which is the source of concrete’s CO2 profile. Transportation costs and CO2 emissions associated with sand imports are also eliminated.”

ClimateCrete is delivering its first prototypes for concrete production to partners in Saudi Arabia, where more than $1.1 trillion in real estate and infrastructure projects are in development.

“ClimateCrete’s pioneering technology marks a transformative moment not only for Saudi Arabia, but for the global community, as we embrace new tools to enable the Circular Carbon Economy,” said William McDonough, another ClimateCrete co-founder and KAUST Distinguished Research Professor, recently named as one the TIME100 most innovative leaders driving climate action. “Sourcing readily-available local materials through innovative, low-carbon methods, this technology is more than a building solution, it is a testament to how we can build with shared abundance. As we launch our pilot program, we are both proving the viability of ClimateCrete and actively shaping a new story in construction manufacturing that combines growth with ecological responsibility and positions Saudi Arabia at the vanguard of sustainable innovation.”

ClimateCrete’s new CEO, Peter Hadrovic, has 23 years experience in Silicon Valley as a CEO, startup advisor and practicing attorney. His most recent roles include CEO at Integrated Tactical Technologies, CEO at Sonitus Technologies, and SVP at Adamas Pharmaceuticals. Hadrovic began his career in Silicon Valley at the Venture Law Group.


ClimateCrete is a US-based startup that converts previously unusable local sand into a sustainable new aggregate for concrete manufacturing, making concrete production sustainable by enabling production locally with a much reduced carbon footprint. ClimateCrete is the official, registered trademark of the patent-pending ClimateCrete process.

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