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UEL works with industry to reduce carbon impact of concrete

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Researchers will help model innovative new products and techniques

The University of East London is collaborating with a leading concrete manufacturer to develop more sustainable pre-cast wall systems, aiming to cut the carbon toll of the construction industry.

Researchers and students from the structural engineering programme will work with JP Concrete on computer simulations to examine innovative new products in an attempt to reduce their impact on the environment.

After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on the planet but its manufacture is a major carbon dioxide emitter, globally rivalling the output of large countries and producing up to 8% of the world’s greenhouse gases.

The construction industry has set itself the challenge of dramatically reducing its carbon footprint in line with international targets, including a commitment in the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions from cement production by at least 16% by 2030.

Pre-cast concrete has the advantage of enhancing quality and reducing construction time, which results in significant economic and environmental benefits.

The current research collaboration projects are focused on developing sustainable and resilient pre-cast retaining wall systems. UEL researchers and students are part of the design team and have been developing a comprehensive study on retaining wall systems, best practice guides and estimates of embodied carbon values.

Dr Ali Abbas, the project co-ordinator and programme leader in civil and structural engineering, from the School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, said, “This a fantastic opportunity to work closely with sector on innovative construction materials and systems that are badly needed by the construction industry, especially in order to meet carbon reduction commitments.”

JP Concrete is a leading manufacturer of pre-cast concrete retaining walls, providing services to the construction industry over the entire project lifecycle, from design to supply and installation.

Vighnesh Daas, director of innovation and sustainability from JP Concrete, said, “This venture is a good example of how industry and academia can come together to address key challenges such as those from climate change and to ensure the construction industry responds with suitable solutions.”

Dr David Tann, the dean of ACE School said, “This is a wonderful collaboration with an innovative industrial partner, providing opportunities for our researchers and students to share their skills and expertise.”

The University’s 10-year Vision 2028 transformation strategy has sustainability as one of its core targets and aims for its research to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

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