Bio-based materials for sustainable concrete

Runa Aaland Eggum, Inger Enes Gjerde, Linn Olberg Lundwall

This paper considers how CO2 emissions related to the concrete industry can be reduced by
using bio-based materials in the production. Cutting emissions is crucial to slow down global
warming, and as the concrete industry is a sizeable contributor to current emissions, action
must be taken now. This paper presents an overview or a “state-of-the-art” of current research
on the area, answering the research question “How can we use bio-based materials to get
more sustainable concrete?”. The main solutions reviewed in this paper are alternatives and
methods to reduce the amount of clinker cement, achieve extended longevity in structures and
finding bio-based alternatives to non-biodegradable materials. The impact of these solutions
on the environment, the properties of the concrete and the possible applications are discussed,
and further action and areas of research is recommended. The research question is answered
through a literature review, compiling and comparing results from a wide selection of current
research on the area. The results implicate that there is a range of possibilities, gains and
challenges when it comes to bio-based materials in concrete. Natural fibre reinforcement
gives improved strength for some fibres but presents workability and durability issues. There
are several additives, admixtures, binders and fillers that improve both strength and durability
as well as other properties of the concrete. Bio-aggregates can be utilized for some
applications and different self-healing mechanisms can extend service life of structures. All
the materials have some challenges related to them, as well as areas where more research
must be conducted before they can safely be utilized in concrete production. However, the
majority of the materials reviewed have a variety of different applications and show great
potential for making more sustainable concrete. Creating common approaches and standard
testing conditions for these kinds of materials is crucial to the quality of further research.

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