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Palo Alto, CA
Today’s cement is made in large, expensive, fixed plants. And its production is one of the biggest contributors to climate emissions. With Furno Materials, Gurinder wants that to change. As founder of Furno Materials, Gurinder and his colleagues are working to re-envision energy-efficient and zero-emission cement production by leveraging oxyfuel combustion and re-designing the cement plant to be compact and modular.
Born in India and raised in rural Australia, Gurinder received a Bachelor of Advanced Science from University of New South Wales, Sydney and a Master of Science in Earth system science from Stanford University. He expresses himself by devoting his efforts to intense physical exercise and taking on big, audacious problems. Before finding his passion for clean technology, Gurinder grew up dreaming of playing professional cricket.
What problem are you solving for? What are the practical applications of this work?
There are two key problems in the cement industry that we are solving for. The first is a design problem. Today there is an over-capacity problem in developed regions due to the tendency to build plants for peak capacity in contrast with an under-capacity issue in developing, high-growth regions that will dominate the demand for cement over the next 30 years. Furthermore, today’s cement plants cost at least $400 million and 3-4 years to build. The second is increasing regulatory pressures around CO2 emissions — particularly in developed regions — and the lack of financially viable options to compete against imports. We’re building our solutions around these two problems to allow us to enter and exit markets quickly, efficiently, and at cost-competitive prices with incumbents, while also providing a pathway to zero carbon emissions in developed economies.
How will Furno Materials help us reach net zero?
Oxyfuel combustion produces a near pure stream of carbon dioxide (CO2), removing the key cost barrier for using Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Furthermore, by employing modular point sources, we can enable innovative storage solutions to drive innovation that would otherwise be hobbled by onerous regulations.
What inspired you to go into the cement field?
The potential for impact is what inspired me. Cement is such a critical commodity to development worldwide that the potential to play a part in reshaping it was a no-brainer.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
True character is built and revealed during tough times.