Mace pioneers cement-free concrete technology

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Mace is spearheading a cement-free concrete technology that reduces the embodied carbon of a construction project by 78%

Mace, in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Foundation Industries programme, is pioneering cement-free concrete technology.

Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) was transformational for the construction industry when it was invented in 1824. Today, it accounts for a large part of embodied carbon during the construction process.

Working with DB Group, steel contractor Hare and structural designer AKT II, Mace is using a low carbon replacement for cement.

The new technology combines Cemfree concrete and low energy Electric Arc Furnace steel in cement-free concrete cassettes.

Cemfree uses alternative materials such as ground granulated blast-furnace slag from steel mills or pulverised fly ash from power stations, to create a cement-free binder which leads to a product with similar structural properties to concrete but using 80% less CO2 during its production.

Testing the first prototype

Using a Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) approach, Mace is designing and testing the first prototype cassettes at its offsite factory in Brandon. During this trial stage, the team has fixed sensors within the prototype, aiming to find efficiencies in the materials used and further reduce the embodied carbon.

The tests have already shown a further carbon reduction in the steel reinforcements used in the structural cassettes, helping to generate improvements in overall embodied carbon efficiency of a project, whilst maintaining the same structural properties.

Once the trials are complete, the cement-free cassettes will be used on some of Mace’s largest construction sites helping clients to reduce embodied carbon.

‘Pursing a sustainable world’

Peter Goring, technical director for Mace Tech, said: “Our work in developing cement-free concrete cassettes is a major leap forward in Mace’s journey to pursue a sustainable world.

“Our goal is to support clients in their ambition to deliver greener and smarter projects, reducing our impact on the environment and lowering carbon emissions.

“Cement free concrete is a pioneering technology which will transform the construction industry, similar to the patent of Ordinary Portland Cement in 1824. It’s essential that we trial this innovative solution in order to deploy it at scale.”

Adam Gittins at DB Group, added: “We are excited to be part of the sustainability journey with Mace and trial our cutting-edge cement-free concrete.

“With support from industry-leading organisations like Mace it helps overcome barriers and demonstrate innovative ultra-low carbon solutions to the wider construction industry.”

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