Approaching a Zero-Carbon Future

In April 2016, a team of biotechnology and engineering professors at the University of Colorado Boulder responded to a Department of Defense call for proposals related to engineered living materials – and the seed of what would become Prometheus Materials was sown. While the team developed a product that satisfied the DOD requirements, they imagined a world in which their technology could not only make an impact in the civilian world but also potentially shift the course of climate change. By harnessing microalgae to be used as a living building material, they constructed a replacement for traditional portland cement. In 2021, Prometheus Materials was founded. Our concrete alternative is currently in commercial production.

Pathway To Prometheus

Mixing ingredients in the lab to make Prometheus concrete.

Department of Defense RFP

The Biological Technologies Office of the Department of Defense issued a call for proposals to conduct work on engineered living materials.

Proof of Concept

After a year of testing in the lab, the team was required to build a product to test. They harnessed the microalgae to be used as a low-carbon concrete masonry unit (CMU) – otherwise known as a cinder block.
A Prometheus concrete block being handed off in the lab.

Formed Company

Prometheus Materials was founded, raised seed capital, and licensed intellectual property from the University of Colorado. The company attracted the attention of major architectural and technology firms.

Microsoft Pilot Demo

Prometheus Materials receives Series A funding and is currently manufacturing its low-carbon concrete alternative to be used in a pilot demonstration for Microsoft.

A Prometheus concrete block standing on top of others at the lab after being made.
“Coral reefs, shells, and even the limestone we use to produce cement today show us that nature has already figured out how to bind minerals together in a strong, clever, and efficient way. By working with nature to use existing microalgae to bind minerals and other materials together to create new types of sustainable biocomposite building materials, we can eliminate most, if not all of the carbon emissions associated with traditional concrete-based building materials."
Wil V. Srubar III, PhD – Chief Technology Advisor and Co-founder
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