24 Nov 2023
Meet Graphene Green Concrete (GGC) one of the suppliers joining the Innovation Lab
Could you tell us how you found out about the Innovation Lab and why you decided to pitch your idea?
We started the conversation with United Utilities (UU) about this new material two years ago. UU showed interest in GGC, and we have discussed various collaboration mechanisms. When the call for Innovation Lab programme opened this year, colleagues from the Innovation team recommended it to us. After searching the website and some discussions with the team, we thought it was the perfect opportunity for us to try things out. So we decided to give it a try.
In simple terms, could you please summarise what your product does?
Graphene Green Concrete enables us to produce concrete using 100% recycled aggregates (materials such as sand and gravel) to achieve comparable performance as high value loadbearing concrete using natural aggregates.
What is the ultimate benefit your idea will bring to water customers in the North West?
Concrete is the most used construction material and vast volumes of concrete at the end of service life are crushed to produce recycled aggregates. However, currently, at most 20% of recycled aggregates can be reused to make new loadbearing concrete, thus an enormous amount of resources are consumed to produce the required new aggregates.
UU has a large number of concrete assets so by using recycled aggregates instead of natural aggregates, GGC will help UU reduce the carbon footprint of their assets. In addition, the introduction of graphene can potentially reduce the usage of cement.
How are you hoping to develop your idea through the Innovation Lab?
Through this programme, we want to show GGC can reduce the caron footprint of reinforced concrete infrastructures without compromising the strength and durability requirements, giving the industry more confidence on this new material.
How important do you think programmes like the Innovation Lab are for developing ideas?
The Innovation Lab is particularly important for introducing new materials/technologies in the construction industry which is highly risk averse. As a major client of concrete construction, UU’s confidence in GGC will be a huge boost to its acceptability by the wider construction industry. The success of this project will be a good case study for future applications.
What does innovation mean to you in three words?
Idea, perseverance, impact
If you fast forward two years from now, where do you see your idea/solution?
We’d like to see a wide use of GGC in UU assets and the wider construction industry.