Alumnus Brent Constantz aims to reverse global warming with "green cement"

Brent Constantz

When Brent Constantz invented a revolutionary product for healing broken bones, he was inspired by the research on coral reefs he had conducted as a UCSC graduate student in the 1980s. Now, drawing on the same source of inspiration, he has come up with a new process for making cement that he says could help reverse global warming.

The standard manufacturing process for the cement used in concrete releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Constantz's process not only eliminates a major source of greenhouse gases, it actually captures carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, trapping the carbon in the cement.

"We're going to reverse climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide in the built environment," Constantz said.

The company he founded to make this "green cement," Calera Corp., was recently profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle. It is Constantz's fourth Silicon Valley startup. He previously founded and sold three medical device companies--Norian Corp., Corazon Technologies, and Skeletal Kinetics.

Calera's subsidiary, Moss Landing Cement Company, is building a pilot plant at Moss Landing, just down the coast from Santa Cruz. Introducing a new material to the building industry won't be easy, but the growing demand for green products is bound to help, Constantz said.

Constantz earned his Ph.D. in Earth sciences from UCSC in 1986. He was honored with the campus's Alumni Achievement Award in 1998.