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Innovative materials to reduce carbon

  • by JW

… from construction to consumer products…


These pages have just looked at innovative materials to reuse waste – including repurposing and recycling.

But this is not just about waste – as the latest research into transforming sugarcane by-product into slabs and bricks is also about creating a low carbon construction material:

Sugarcane is the world’s largest crop by production and bagasse is what is left when sugar juice is extracted from it. In countries such as India, bagasse is being converted into biofuel for low-carbon electricity, but its potential to contribute to global decarbonisation could soon extend to the construction sector. Academics at the University of East London (UEL) are involved in an extremely promising project to create slabs and bricks made from bagasse combined with mineral binders. The product is called Sugarcrete and early test results have already led to pilot projects in sugarcane producing countries including India, Costa Rica and Tanzania.

Meanwhile, there are other alternatives to reinforced concrete and alternatives to asphalt concrete being developed. And the construction industries are also looking to sustainable architecture by going beyond ‘single use’ buildings and by innovations such as hemp architecture. But ultimately, low-carbon building materials are the primary way to reduce carbon at the source – again, with more and more environmentally friendly materials emerging. 

And it’s not just in construction that we’re seeing new materials emerging – whether it’s Nike making strides towards net zero with sustainable foamApple unveiling its first carbon neutral products or Amazon’s packaging innovation – to name but a few of the biggest companies hopefully going beyond mere greenwashing.