Civil engineers at our North hub, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), have developed a new type of cement which creates 80% fewer carbon emissions than concrete. The technology offers a window into how buildings can be constructed with low carbon geopolymers in place of concrete.

Manufacturing concrete is responsible for 4-8% of total global CO2 emissions, with concrete being the second most widely used substance on planet after water. Studies at LJMU demonstrate the potential of a substitute material which combines aluminium alloy with a novel geopolymer to construct the ‘skeleton’ of a building. 

The geopolymer is cement-free and is made from industrial waste. This new geopolymer concrete is free from chemical solutions and is cheaper to produce than conventional cement. It was developed by Dr Monower Sadique and a team from the School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment.

Award winning research

The innovation won the Charles Manby Research Prize from the Institution for Civil Engineering.

Dr Sadique, said: “This research developed concrete that is free from chemical solutions based on the combination of alumina-silicate rich materials with suitable alkaline content. We hope it will impact the construction sector in developing an equivalent alternative to cement and widespread application of geopolymer in construction.

Tests will now be carried on different types of structures and eventually complete a trial in a real-life building.