E-Crete™ - concrete, no cement
Commercial production of environmentally friendly E-Crete™, the world's first geopolymer alternative to conventional concrete, began in Melbourne in February. This follows 15 years of research and development, which resulted in a revolutionary product that uses recycled waste from power stations and blast furnaces, and produces 80 per cent less CO2 during manufacture than concrete.
Zeobond, the developers and manufacturers of E-Crete™, will open plants later this year in Asia and the USA to supply the international market. Once the product has been proven in the marketplace and regulatory barriers overcome, "the sky is the limit" for potential sales, according to David Brice, the company’s Operations Manager.
"At this point E-Crete™ is really in the proving ground," Mr Brice says. "We have a lot of regulatory barriers to overcome, and we're entering a market that's heavily competitive. At this stage there are certain applications where E-Crete™ is more effective than others, for example, its high acid resistance makes it appropriate for chemicals handling, and its high fire resistance for heavy industry where there's a lot of heat."
According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, "concrete is the most widely used material on earth apart from water".
Demand is likely double in the next decade, particularly as developing nations step up infrastructure projects.
The manufacture of concrete is responsible for between five and eight per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, created both from the high temperatures required to calcinate the limestone in cement and from the calcination chemical reactions. For every kilogram of cement produced, about 0.9 kilogram of CO2 is generated.
In E-Crete™, geopolymers are formed at room temperature by using industrial waste to form a solid binder that has a similar appearance and performance to conventional cement.
The waste materials used by Zeobond are fly ash and bottom ash from power stations, blast furnace slag from iron-making plants and concrete waste. Aluminates and silicates are extracted from the waste, and alkali, gravel and sand added to make geopolymer concrete.
While the activators in geopolymers do produce some CO2, the absence of high-temperature calcination reduces overall CO2 production by 80 per cent, according to independent tests of E-Crete™.
E-Crete™ was developed by Zeobond's CEO and founder, Jannie van Deventer, a former Dean of Engineering at Melbourne University. It is price competitive with conventional concrete.
For more information visit www.zeobond.com