Deep Dive: HiiROC x Cemex Ventures

Did you catch wind of this? Hydrogen, the emerging fuel, is set to unlock a potential $2.5 trillion market by 2050, representing an unparalleled energy powerhouse with limitless possibilities. This energy source has been gaining particular significance, especially within the construction industry. 

In our most recent move, we’ve amplified our investment in the cutting-edge clean hydrogen technology startup, HiiROC, one of the Top 50 2021 Contech Startups and Green Construction startups in our investment portfolio. This milestone seeks to increase the adoption of alternative energy fuels in the construction industry and positions Cemex as leader in the use of hydrogen in the cement sector.  

Let’s explore our strategic investment in the disruptive cleantech startup and explore what’s next for Cemex and HiiROC.  

Let’s take a deeper dive! 

Table of Contents

What – does HiiRoc do? 

HiiROC has developed a novel process for low-cost, zero CO2 emission hydrogen production. The startup produces hydrogen through its proprietary process: Thermal Plasma Electrolysis (TPE). 

HiiROC’s hydrogen production process mitigates the drawbacks of steam methane reforming (which results in CO2 emissions) and water electrolysis (which loses the original input power).  

Its TPE Technology is as cost-effective as steam methane reforming but without the need for CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage). Additionally, it consumes a fraction of the energy and costs associated with water electrolysis. Furthermore, the process generates a valuable and emission-free co-product called carbon black, usable in numerous industrial applications. 

HiiROC tech

Why – has Cemex increased its stake in HiiROC? 

Cemex Ventures, the open innovation arm of Cemex, seeks to establish partnerships and make strategic investments in promising startups that offer innovative technologies and business models that improve efficiency, processes, and operations, but that also adhere to the company’s ambitious climate and sustainability goals. 

This strategic collaboration underscores a mutually advantageous scenario for both: Cemex and HiiROC. 

Through Cemex Ventures, Cemex made its inaugural investment in HiiROC in 2021 with the aim to increase hydrogen injection capacity throughout Cemex’s cement operations, concurrently reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. Fast forward just over 18 months, and Cemex, in collaboration with HiiROC, is gearing up for an extensive implementation of the startup’s thermal plasma technology. The focal point of this deployment will be Cemex’s pivotal cement plant in Rugby, United Kingdom, with immediate plans to extend HiiROC’s innovative technology across its EMEA operations in the medium run, expanding their involvement with the startup. 

So, let’s dive just a little bit deeper… 

How – will HiiROC and Cemex help each other achieve their objectives?     

Thanks to HiiROC’s clean hydrogen technology, potential benefits emerge for the greater cement sector, such as reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. Cemex, by investing in and partnering with this sustainable solution, intends to scale hydrogen injection in its cement kilns and elevate the substitution rate of fossil fuels. 

This collaboration propels Cemex towards achieving the net-zero CO2 status by 2050, as outlined in its Future in Action sustainability program. 

However, the benefits of this partnership are mutual. This agreement seeks to help HiiROC with the following: 

Increased financial investment: The startup secures additional capital essential for its ongoing development. 

Supply for one of the world’s largest materials companies: HiiROC becomes a supplier for a major player in the building materials industry, expanding its networking opportunities and leading strategic opportunities. 

Expertise and specialized knowledge: Acceleration of its learning curve and enhanced market positioning. 

Who – is HiiROC? 

Founded in 2019, HiiROC is a UK-based startup with an innovative hydrogen solution that enables the transition to a ‘Hydrogen Economy’. Its co-founders include Tim Davies (Founder and CEO), Ate Wiekamp (Founder and CSO) and Simon Morris (Founder and CCO). 

The foundation of this startup solution rests on five key pillars: 

  • World leading: Revolutionary tech for carbon-free hydrogen. 
  • Versatile: Applicable across various sectors, including power generation, blending, and industrial decarbonization 
  • Economical: Cost-effective like SMR, no need for CCUS, and significantly lower energy/cost compared to water electrolysis. 
  • Efficient: Centralized or local production reduces costs for transportation, storage, and compression. 
  • Scalable: From small modular units (hundreds of kg/day) up to industrial scale solutions (hundreds of tons/day). 

Contact us!   

Whether you are a startup, SME, corporate, building professional, media journalist, or just want to find out more, we encourage you to contact us through our website or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter 

You can also keep up to date with the newest Contech deals and news by subscribing to our biweekly Contech Tacos newsletter! 

Press release

Cemex Ventures increases stake in transformational low-cost, zero-emission hydrogen startup 

Madrid, Spain. December 19, 2023. Cemex Ventures, Cemex’s corporate venture capital (CVC) and open innovation unit, has increased its stake in HiiROC, a world leading startup with a novel proprietary process for low-cost, zero emission hydrogen production. Hydrogen is a high-potential energy solution for the construction industry as a whole and for the cement sector in particular, that when used, significantly reduces the industry’s dependence on fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions with a breakthrough approach.  

Founded in 2019, HiiROC is a UK-based startup that produces cost-competitive and zero-emission hydrogen through its proprietary process of thermal plasma electrolysis. While hydrogen is becoming an increasingly promising alternative energy source and feedstock for a wide and diverse set of industrial processes, existing solutions are traditionally either high emission or high cost. Alternatively, HiiROC’s technology stands out producing high grade hydrogen that requires a fraction of the energy consumed by water electrolysis, and avoids the need for intensive Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) methods required for traditional steam methane reforming. Furthermore, HiiROC’s production units are modular and scalable, use no water, and carbon black, a co-product of the hydrogen production process, becomes an additional area of opportunity to further decarbonize heavy industries.  

“This news comes at a critical moment when COP28 has brought the world together to address and refocus the climate agenda and buckle down on the responsibility of governments and private corporations to deliver on their decarbonization objectives ahead of 2030”, said Gonzalo Galindo, Head of Cemex Ventures. “With our increased investment in HiiROC, we are especially proud to be #1 in the use of hydrogen in the cement sector and are committed to keep scouting new ways to deploy hydrogen at a grand scale at Cemex’s 60 cement and grinding plants.” 

Through its corporate venture capital arm, Cemex initially invested in the breakthrough startup in 2022 and is planning large-scale deployment of HiiROC’s thermal plasma technology to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels and help decarbonize its operations. With this strategic partnership, Cemex intends to initially increase its hydrogen injection capacity at its crucial cement plant at Rugby, United Kingdom and expects to eventually deploy HiiROC’s technology gradually across its EMEA operations. 

One of Cemex’s end-products, ready-mix concrete, is the most used man-made material world and plays an essential role in the development of societies and the built environment, which is why the company has a clear path to contribute to climate change mitigation and the reduction of CO2 emissions. By investing in sustainable solutions and partnering with revolutionary startups, it aims to become a net-zero CO2 company by 2050 as set out by its Future in Action program. 

About HiiROC 

HiiROC has developed a new, proprietary process for generating affordable, zero-emission hydrogen: Thermal Plasma Electrolysis (TPE).  Using a fraction of the electricity and cost of water electrolysis, TPE produces valuable, high-energy hydrogen and inert, solid carbon black, without the creation of CO2. The technology can also be used to mitigate flare and waste gases, as well as support removal of atmospheric CO2 using biomethane. Founded in 2019, HiiROC has established development facilities in Hull, commercial offices in the south of England, and a research lab in Europe.  The firm has raised over £30m from investors including Melrose, Wintershall Dea, Centrica, HydrogenOne, Hyundai, CEMEX and Kia. The versatile technology is being demonstrated in 2023 through pilots and projects across the spectrum of hydrogen applications from industrial decarbonisation to energy management to transport. 

About Cemex Ventures 

Launched in 2017, Cemex Ventures focuses on helping overcome the main challenges and capitalizing on the opportunity areas in the construction ecosystem through solutions that consider sustainability. Cemex Ventures has developed an open collaborative platform to lead the revolution of the construction industry, engaging startups, entrepreneurs, universities, and other stakeholders to tackle the challenges in the construction environment and shape the industry’s future. For more information on Cemex Ventures, please visit: 

About Cemex 

Cemex is a global construction materials company that is building a better future through sustainable products and solutions. Cemex is committed to achieving carbon neutrality through relentless innovation and industry-leading research and development. Cemex is at the forefront of the circular economy in the construction value chain and is pioneering ways to increase the use of waste and residues as alternative raw materials and fuels in its operations with the help of new technologies. Cemex offers cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and urbanization solutions in growing markets around the world, powered by a multinational workforce focused on providing a superior customer experience enabled by digital technologies. For more information, please visit:


Cemex Ventures BV is an indirect subsidiary of Cemex, S.A.B. de C.V.. Except as the context otherwise may require, references in this press release to “Cemex,” ”we,” ”us,” ”our,” refer to Cemex, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE: CX) and its consolidated subsidiaries. This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws. Cemex intends these forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements in the U.S. federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements reflect Cemex’s current expectations and projections about future events based on Cemex’s knowledge of present facts and circumstances and assumptions about future events, as well as Cemex’s current plans based on such facts and circumstances, unless otherwise indicated. These statements necessarily involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from Cemex’s expectations, including, among others, risks, uncertainties, and assumptions discussed in Cemex’s most recent annual report and detailed from time to time in Cemex’s other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Mexican Stock Exchange (Bolsa Mexicana de Valores), which factors are incorporated herein by reference, which if materialized could ultimately lead to Cemex’s expectations, expected results, and/or the investment and projects referred herein not producing the expected benefits and/or results. Forward-looking statements should not be considered guarantees of future performance, nor the results or developments are indicative of results or developments in subsequent periods. These factors may be revised or supplemented, and the information contained in this press release is subject to change without notice, but Cemex is not under, and expressly disclaims, any obligation to update or correct this press release or revise any forward-looking statement contained herein, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances. Any or all of Cemex’s forward-looking statements may turn out to be inaccurate. Accordingly, undue reliance on forward-looking statements should not be placed, as such forward-looking statements speak only as of the dates on which they are made. The content of this press release is for informational purposes only, and you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. Cemex is not responsible for any third-party information referenced in this press release. 

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