Down to Earth Materials

Bioaggregates made from agriculture and forestry waste for green concrete and cement building materials.


Concrete is the second-most consumed material on the planet besides water, and is the most abundant construction material by a wide margin. The modern definition of concrete is an encompassing term for the mixture of coarse aggregate (rock), fine aggregate (sand), and Portland cement binder that binds it all together when mixed with water. It’s widely known now that cement production accounts for 5-8% of the global CO2 emissions annually, and every pound of cement produced emits 0.9 lbs of CO2 equivalent. A lot of the discussion and innovation around decarbonizing concrete is focused primarily on decarbonizing Portland cement manufacturing, or using an alternative binder altogether. The often overlooked impact of concrete use is the dwindling supply of construction grade sand, and the increasing costs to mine and freight this material. High quality aggregate is primarily found in riverbeds and lakes where thousands of years of erosion and attrition create a unique size and shape perfectly suited for concrete. Although it seems like there is an unlimited supply, sand from deserts and beaches that has been eroded by wind is not suitable for high quality concrete due to its uniform and spherical shape. Even though it is a naturally regenerating material our rate of consumption outpaces the rate of renewal. As supply struggles to match demand we are forced to import from further distances, and use more impactful means of mining. The cost of sand has tripled since 1990 from $3/ton to $9/ton, and prices are expected to double again over the next 40 years with rapid global industrialization. 

At Down to Earth Materials, a bioaggregate is a plant based fiber that is a renewable and carbon capturing supplemental material to sand. Utilizing our patented ClearWash™ process, we produce this novel material to reduce the overall carbon footprint of concrete, and keep pace with its increasing global demand.

Concrete Blocks with Reduced Embodied Carbon

DTE’s go-to-market deployment of these bioaggregates are 600 and 2000 psi compressive strength rated precast concrete masonry units (CMUs). This material replaces between 12-40% of sand by volume depending on the strength requirement of the intended application. Due to the low density of the bioaggregates compared to sand, the average block weight is reduced up to 30%. This weight savings provides added benefits to the installer, and reduced freighting costs to the end user. 

Our team recently conducted scaled manufacturing with a leading precast concrete manufacturing partner for both product iterations. During these trials we’ve optimized freight, storage, conveyance, mixing, and curing adjustments that are necessary when introducing a new material to a finely tuned high throughput manufacturing process. These blocks are currently undergoing testing in accordance with ASTM C129 (600+ psi CMU) and ASTM C90 (2000+ psi CMU). Common applications of 600 psi CMU are mason fencing, fire walls, and retaining walls while 2000 psi is the minimum for load bearing applications. We anticipate having IRC and IBC building code compliance for these CMU by Q1 2024. Future bioaggregate applications include cast-in-place, ready-mix, insulating blocks and panels, ICF systems, drywall, and 3d printed concrete. Click the button below to read more about biogenic storage and carbon accounting.

Clearwash Advantage

Supply Chain

  • Carbon negative due to biogenic storage
  • Increased shelf life and storage duration

  • Sourced as waste or secondary outputs from ag and forestry operations

  • Optimized regional supply chains centered around variety of feedstocks

  • C5 and C6 sugar byproducts contribute to circular economy

  • Proven scalable through 3rd party feasibility studies

  • 3rd party life cycle analysis actively being developed

Increased Performance

  • Fiber morphology similar to river sand

  • Inhibitive sugars removed for increased strength

  • Blocks cured and palletized in under 24 hours

  • Up to 30% weight reduction vs traditional CMU

  • Lightweight blocks for easier installation

  • Compatible with 90% of all precast CMU manufacturing equipment in US

  • Blocks continue to pass smoke and flame spread test ASTM E84

Down to Earth Materials


Biogenically stored carbon (CO2e)


Of agriculture waste salvaged


Blocks sold to-date

With support and funding from:

CalPoly San Luis Obispo (SLO)
State of California Energy Commission (CEC)
Caltech Logo

Contact us

Reach out to us below!  •  (747) 400-9550
2650 W Andrews Ave Fresno, CA 93705