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Building climate-neutral with concrete

All industries have submitted to the Swedish government their roadmaps to become fossil fuel-free. Roadmaps have also been submitted by the cement and concrete industries, which are today major sources of emissions both globally and in Sweden. RISE is now bringing together partners from across the value chain in order to realise the roadmaps.

Cementproduktion står ensamt för sju procent av de globala koldioxidutsläppen. I Sverige handlar det om två miljoner ton årligen. Även om det finns alternativ till att bygga i betong så är det omöjligt att tänka sig att allt som nu byggs i betong i världen skulle kunna gå att bygga i trä eller andra material.

– Varje år använder vi 30 miljarder ton cementbaserade byggmaterial i världen. Så byggs broar, vägar, fundament till järnvägsräls och såklart byggnader. De näst mest vanliga materialen är trä och tegel, men av dessa används bara två miljarder ton årligen. Vi kommer alltså använda mycket cement och betong även i framtiden. Ska vi klara målet att bli klimatneutrala till 2045 måste vi ställa oss frågan hur betong passar in i en fossilfri framtid, förklarar Katarina Malaga, professor i hållbart byggande på RISE.

Blanda betong med mindre cement

Svensk betong blandas med en internationellt sett mycket hög andel cement. Även jämfört med länder med liknande klimat som Sverige skiljer de svenska recepten ut sig. RISE med sina partners tittar på vad som kan minska andelen cement i betongen, och därmed klimatpåverkan.

– Det handlar om att välja något med lika bra egenskaper som cementen, men mindre utsläpp i tillverkningsprocessen. Internationellt provas slagg och flygaska som bindemedel. Men vi är också väldigt intresserade av lera, och testar vilken hållfasthet olika svenska leror kan ha i betongen, berättar Katarina Malaga.

Även designen av det betongen används till kan ge bättre klimatprestanda. Om man till exempel bygger de nya stambanorna för tåg på betongpelare, så räknar RISE på hur de kan byggas så de binder så mycket koldioxid som möjligt i reaktionen mot luften.

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If we are to achieve the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2045, we must ask ourselves how concrete fits into a fossil fuel-free future

RISE wants to change attitudes

– “One problem that exists is that many clients do not know how to set requirements for the concrete,” says Malaga. “And even if the end customer tries to set requirements, the builders may be unsure how to mix concrete with a smaller proportion of cement.”

For this reason, RISE works directly with its partners to disseminate facts and share test results relating to the technical characteristics of new materials. The idea is to be able to change the understanding of what constitutes a robust construction.

– "In Masthuggskajen in Gothenburg, where a new residential area is being built, RISE has worked together with Älvstaden Utveckling AB to show the contractors how concrete in which slag replaces part of the cement can work particularly well in salt-rich coastal environments".

Other partners want to go further. Malaga hopes that the Swedish Transport Administration’s willingness to try new solutions will lead to the use of concrete with a higher proportion of clay in the recipe when the Bothnia Line is completed.

– “This could provide both a new railway and make it more climate-smart,” concludes Malaga.

Katarina Malaga

Contact person

Katarina Malaga


+46 10 516 68 62

Read more about Katarina

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