This project is aimed at the development of sustainable, low carbon, pre-cast concrete infrastructure. It is estimated that concrete products represent at least 5 percent of humanity’s carbon footprint from CO2 emissions. Additionally, concrete infrastructure such as bridges, marine structures for coastal defence and off-shore renewables suffer from premature ageing, rapid deterioration, structural deficiency and the safe management of risk. Most of this deterioration is a result of the corrosion of the steel reinforcing bars (rebars) embedded in the concrete. In the UK alone £600m pa is spent on the repair and maintenance of ageing steel reinforced concrete infrastructure.
The major aim of this project is to develop significantly lower energy, durable concrete products for use in civil infrastructure by maximising the inclusion of waste products and to combine with corrosion resistant basalt fibre reinforced polymer (BFRP) fibres and reinforcing bars which are stronger, lighter and have a lower carbon footprint than equivalent steel rebar. This innovative research accrues from the technological approach used to develop sustainable concrete products with a significantly lower carbon footprint and the demonstration of this improved sustainability by the Academics Partners from UK and Italy collaborating with a leading pre-cast concrete manufacturer, Banagher Precast Concrete in Ireland and specialists in leading-edge technologies and products for the construction industry, Azichem in Italy. This project will take place over four years and will involve the secondment of researchers from academia to industry and vice versa.