It takes 20 years or more to develop deep technology from lab to industrial scale, and we are well into that journey.
In 2006 two Canberra entrepreneurs Marcus Dawe and John Beever came together with a big audacious question. The first IPCC report was released and firmly identified CO2 emissions as a root cause of our rapidly climate change. They asked "What can we do with CO2 instead of burying it?". How could we turn around our thinking about CO2 emissions as a waste emission to where it could be used as a resource. The fossil fuels industries had already chosen CCS or geosequestration as their primary solution but Marcus and John were convinced that a range of solutions were needed to be developed to address the major global challenge of emissions reduction ahead of us.
GreenMag Group formed
After investigation of other possible solutions, they came across mineral carbonation. This involves locking CO2 into rocks permanently and it looked the most promising for scale and applicability. The science of mineral carbonation had only recently started at Los Alamos by the US DoE with further initial lab experiments performed at NETL Labs in early 2000s.
Marcus and John founded GreenMag Group in 2007 with a group of Canberra angel investors. They self-funded the first 6 years of University based scientific research and industry advocacy to then successfully win Australian Government's grants to advance the technology from lab to pilot plant scale in 2013.
MCi created and funded
MCi was founded in 2013 by the consortia GreenMag Group, Orica and University of Newcastle to conduct the funded pilot plant program.
Firstly MCi won a competitive grant of $3.04m from the NSW Government which was then matched by the Australian Government. The governments then required MCi to find matching industry funding for the project to proceed.
MCi’s quest for an industry partner led it to Orica Ltd which through their lead researcher Dr. Geoff Brent had also been conducting independent research into mineral carbonation since 2006. They merged their technology programs and IP together into MCi to advance the fully funded pilot program.
Geoff became MCi's Chief Scientist. Marcus Dawe became the CEO and delivered his TED talk. Sophia Hamblin Wang was lured away from her PhD at ANU to become MCi's first employee as COO and responsible for delivery of the 4 year program.
MCi built out its world class Foundation Team with chemical engineers seconded from its partner Orica, including Dr. Mark Rayson (now MCi's CTO) and with technical specialists and researchers provided by its research partner TUNRA and the University of Newcastle. Our Foundation Team conducted 25 continuous quarters of milestone led R&D successfully, delivering its global reference Mineral Carbonation Pilot Plant at NIER in Newcastle. Importantly the 14 R&D programs supporting the pilot plant design and construction and process technology were conducted in collaboration with Orica, University of Newcastle, University of Sydney and Columbia University.
In 2017 MCi won further Australian Government funding towards a 3 year $8.3M program to enhance the pilot plant facility to enable testing of both pure and dilute CO2 capture from flue gas directly and demonstrating the real world applications in cement, steel, hydrogen and hard to abate industries and possibly avoiding the need for separate CO2 capture technology.
In 2019 MCi raised its first external capital from a group of sophisticated investors close to MCi to fund and initiate its commercialisation phase.
MCi unveilled its technology to the world and found considerable demand for its 'climate solution' within many industrial sectors. It engaged with its first customers. It was also recognised as a leading solution in the emerging CCU/CCUS sector, turning CO2 emissions into value and profit.
In 2021, MCi raised its first cornerstone industry investment from Itochu Corp. of Japan which also became MCi's partner to promote the technology in Japan.
In 2021 MCi secured a $14.6m grant from the Australian Government CCUS Development Fund to build its CCU Flagship - an industrial scale demonstration carbon plant to be completed in 2023 co-located at Orica's AN Plant in Newcastle and locking away their captured CO2 permanently into construction products and low carbon embodied materials.
With solid techno-economics and a substantial portfolio of IP, MCi continues the commercialisation and scaling of its technology globally with industrial customers, investors and partners.
MCi's headquarters are in Canberra and its research and technical facilities are located at the Newcastle Institute for Energy Research (NIER).
MCi is a group of exceptional people. Our growing team of around 40 dedicated people have expertise in various fields from chemical engineering, industrial chemistry, materials science, geology, mining, finance, sustainability, management and environmental science.
Our story now continues as we showcased our technology in November 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow. Here for our first time we unveil our ambitious plan to decarbonize global industry by turning carbon emissions into value.
Significantly we won the title of No.1 Clean Energy Startup from a field of 2700 entrants globally which we accepted with gratitude knowing that our journey is already 15 years in, but also much closer to achieving our mission.
MCi's clean technology sits firmly within a portfolio of carbon utilisation technologies that will ultimately be required to meet the Paris Agreement climate change targets.
MCi is invested as a pioneer in the field of carbon utilisation and are engaging with global partners and ESG funders towards advancing its commercialisation plans for the rollout of its Carbon Plants throughout the world.
MCi's goal is to build many industrial scale Carbon Plants by 2030 that would be capable of converting millions of tonnes of CO2 into negative carbon materials, for use by product manufacturers and construction companies. Importantly also creating high quality, permanent carbon offsets.
MCi recently completed its first significant round of capital raising to advance commercialisation and designing its first demonstration projects globally. We are approximately three to four years away from operating our first full-scale, commercial-ready industrial plants.
In 2007, MCi's co-founders create an investment company GreenMag Group to fund a six-year period of independent research into mineral carbonation with University of Newcastle researchers.
2013 - 2017
In 2013, MCi was established as a joint venture between the Canberra-based GreenMag Group, the University of Newcastle and Orica. From this period onward, MCi received the consistent funding and support of Australian governments at the state and federal level, along with industry partners in a range of sectors. This accelerated the development of our $9.12M pilot plant.
2019 - 2020
In 2019, MCi increased its Technical Readiness Level (TRL6) and continued to benefit from government support with a $8.3M CRC-P project grant to integrate our plant technology with any industrial source of CO2. MCi has completed its first round of capital raising and is currently focused on commercialisation as a priority. MCi is approximately four to five years away from operating our first full-scale, commercial-ready industrial plant.
2021 - beyond
So far in 2021, MCi has received continued recognition from both industry and government organisations for its specialised carbon capture technology and support from MCi's investors and stakeholders has helped to place MCi as a specialised world-leading carbon capture organisation. In June this year we were announced as the second largest recipient of the Australian Government's Carbon Capture Use and Storage Development Fund.
The $14.6 million grant for the project titled ‘Australian CCU Flagship: Demonstrating decarbonisation for heavy industry’ will accelerate MCi’s technology that transforms CO2 emissions into valuable advanced manufacturing and consumer products.
In 2022, Mineral Carbonation International became MCi Carbon.