This partnership aims to create net-zero concrete out of industrial waste

In order to reach the climate targets of the Paris Agreement, we urgently need to find a greener alternative to concrete — the most widely used man-made material in the world — whose key component (cement) emits about 8 percent of global CO2 emissions.

Narrowing in on this sustainability challenge, architecture firm Snøhetta has partnered with Norwegian startup Saferock to develop a net-zero geopolymer concrete made from waste streams created by the world’s industrial processes.

By giving value to industrial by-products from mining industries and power plants, the project aims to create a concrete mixture that emits 70 percent fewer carbon emissions than concrete, thus providing a double-edged solution that turns industrial waste into a sustainable construction material.

According to Snøhetta and Saferock, which hope to create fully carbon-neutral concrete by 2025, geopolymers have several properties that are superior to the ones of traditional cement, including higher temperature and chemical resistance, and significantly lower permeability.

“The first step of the research project is to pilot and scale up the development of tomorrow’s building materials in the form of low emission concrete,” said the construction team behind the project. “The next step will be to ensure that the technology and materials are a part of a circular ecosystem. This will truly impact the industry’s environmental footprint.”

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