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Greg Houchins bio

Project
Chement

Sector
Cement

Location
Chicago, IL

Connect
LinkedIn

Gregory Houchins

Concrete is the most widely consumed resource in the world after water, and the production of cement — the main component of concrete — is one of the biggest polluters on the planet. Greg hopes to change that with his company, Chement.

Cement production typically requires burning large amounts of fossil fuels at extremely high temperatures. Using Chement’s electrochemical technology instead of thermal processes, Greg is working to increase the energy efficiency of cement production, cut fossil fuel emissions, and capture other emissions harmful to the atmosphere.

Greg brings expertise in electrochemistry, lithium-ion battery cathodes, computational methods, and atomistic simulations related to electrochemistry — including high-performance computing and machine learning — to the BE Fellows program.

Greg recently relocated from Pittsburgh to Chicago to be closer to the Argonne National Lab and the growing cleantech industry in the area. Besides his passion for clean technology and saving the world, Greg has a serious dedication to coffee. There’s a place in Greg’s heart for every cup of coffee, but he’s always on the search for the best of the best. He received a Bachelor of Science in physics and mathematics from James Madison University, as well as a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in physics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Q&A

What problem is Chement solving for? What are the practical applications of this work?
Within the entire supply chain of concrete and cement, the vast majority of emissions can be pinned to the pre-calciner and rotary kiln of a cement plant. I am working to replace these two pieces of equipment with an electrochemical reactor that takes the same raw materials and produces the same product without any carbon emissions.

If you were speaking to a prospective Fellow applicant, why should they apply?
I would encourage anyone looking to make a huge impact in the climate change space to apply. This is the only program dedicated to the most difficult, yet impactful issues related to decarbonization, and therefore presents a unique opportunity to go big and not settle for a partial solution.

What inspired you to go into this field?
I went to a talk by Dave Danielson during Carnegie Mellon Energy Week in 2018. I got inspired by the idea of electrifying and decarbonizing cement, and I can't see myself doing anything else.

Tell us more about yourself
One of the cooler things I have done in the past few years was to setup and maintain a 6,000-core, 200-user supercomputer cluster during my Ph.D. and travel to Kobe, Japan to talk about it.