Sublime Systems Advances Manufacturing Tradition in Holyoke

It’s called the Justice40 Initiative, also known as Section 223 of Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.”

It was issued by President Biden his first week in office back in 2021, and it directs 40% (hence the name) of the overall benefits of certain federal investments — including those in clean energy and energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, and more — to flow to disadvantaged communities.

Holyoke still fits that description, and the fact that it does is one of many factors that has brought Sublime Systems, the Somerville-based startup that manufactures what it calls “low-carbon cement,” to the Paper City in an ambitious, $150 million venture that brings the city’s past, present, and future together.

Specifically, Sublime, guided by the Justice40 Initiative tools, its pending application for funding to the Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, and other factors, including accessibility to abundant renewable energy (hydropower), eventually settled on a 14-acre sliver of land, an island in some respects, that lies between the city’s lower canal and the Connecticut River to scale up its operation.

There, the company expects to break ground in early 2025 on a plant that will produce 30,000 tons of cement that is much kinder to the planet than the products that have been produced to date. The application to OCED is for funds for accelerated construction of this facility, and the program in question is one of many covered by Justice40.

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