Clinker Factor - Episode #32

27 July 2023 - In this episode, Ian Riley speaks to Dr. Gianluca Ambrosetti, CEO and Founder of Synhelion, about the challenges and opportunities of bringing solar fuels to market and the pioneering technology behind the development of solar clinker.

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Cement production is responsible for approximately 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is possibly the hardest to abate sector. In this podcast series, the World Cement Association’s CEO, Ian Riley, talks to industry leaders, experts and technological innovators from across the globe, bringing insights and fresh perspectives on how the cement sector can decarbonise and improve sustainability. Suitable for anyone interested in climate change mitigation and industrial sustainability.


Ian Riley

Clinker Factor Host: CEO, World Cement Association

After graduating from Cambridge University in 1979, Mr Riley worked in a number of management roles in the UK, the USA, Australia and Japan before moving to China in 1998. He was General Manager of a British project management and consulting firm, based in Shanghai and also Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai before joining Holcim/Huaxin in 2006.

As Huaxin VP responsible for international business, strategy and sustainability, he oversaw Huaxin’s first overseas venture in Tajikistan. Mr Riley was Greater China Country Head for LafargeHolcim from 2014 to 2019.  He has been CEO of WCA since September 1, 2019.

Dr. Gianluca Ambrosetti

Clinker Factor Guest: CEO and Co-Founder of Synhelion

Synhelion is a Swiss clean energy company that uses solar energy to produce carbon-neutral solar fuels to decarbonize transportation. Synhelion's technology generates high-temperature process heat that can also be applied to other industries, such as cement manufacturing. Together with its partner CEMEX, Synhelion is working on a solution to decarbonize cement production.

Gianluca has a PhD in Physics/Nanotechnology from EPFL Lausanne. Before founding Synhelion, he held various leadership positions in the concentrated solar power and photovoltaics industry. His achievements include several patents and scientific publications, and he is the recipient of the EPFL Prix Prof. René Wasserman 2011.