TU Delft TV: from waste to concrete

The use of concrete as a building material goes back all the way to the Roman Empire, and maybe even further than that. It is hugely important in our society nowadays, and builds practically anything, from bridges to highrises in the city. However, the production of concrete has a large impact on our environment: it is the second largest producer of CO2 and is responsible for emitting up to 5% of global CO2 emissions.

This is not the only problem we're facing in our modern world: the waste production in many other industries is growing, and means our landfills are quickly filling up and valuable resources get lost.

At the Faculty of Civil Engineering, the geo-polymer team is working towards solving this ecological catastrophe. They are researching a type of concrete that uses waste and by products instead of cement as a raw material. This material is called geo-polymer concrete, and is made by mixing different industrial byproducts. The hardened concrete has comparable or even better properties than traditional concrete. Already the theory has been put into practice: a geo-concrete canoe has been built, a cantilevered bench, and a bridge is up next.

The role of waste is thus rethought and industrial byproducts can be given a new life, reducing CO2 emissions and making landfills smaller. Geo-polymer concrete might just be the building material of the future.