EcoCrete — Reducing the Environmental Impact of Concrete by Knowledge-based Design and Utilisation of Industrial Waste Materials

EcoCrete is a project initiated within the EU Eco-innovation programme.

EcoCrete aims at developing a software toolset to design concrete mixes of improved environmental performance utilising industrial waste or recycled aggregates.

Concrete at Bodega Winery, La Rioja, Spain Concrete has been a popular building material for thousands of years but modern society’s emphasis on strength and speed of construction has made the mix more cement-based. Cement is a highly environmentally challenging component — it’s hugely energy-demanding production is responsible for around 7% of world CO2 emissions.

The EcoCrete toolset will be applied to produce an improved concrete mix containing oil shale ash from Estonian power stations. The project is expected to demonstrate that cement content can be reduced whilst improving quality and durability of the concrete. The results are especially relevant to repair of post-war prefabricated concrete buildings, home to around 200 million people. Many of these buildings throughout eastern and central Europe are in poor condition and in urgent need of repair.

Demand for concrete is rising — in China alone 1,300 tonnes is being consumed a year. With a tonne of CO2 produced for every tonne of cement, the project results have high relevance on an international basis.