Organisme public

Smart Living Lab, Institute ENERGY, Institute ChemTech

Daia Zwicky
Skills directory

May 2021 - October 2022

New Ecological CONcretes based on low-energy BIO-based artificial Lightweight Aggregates with multifunctional properties.

Globally, the project aims to contribute at further reductions of the carbon footprint of lightweight timber-based buildings, through multi-parametrical optimization of pourable concrete materials used in them for building-physical and structural purposes, considering holistic evaluations of the material’s contribution to the full-lifecycle performance of a residential building in real application scenarios. Application-relevant responses being essentially dictated by their aggregate skeleton, development of optimized concretes entails the functional tuning and prototype validation of new low-energy lightweight aggregates, recently developed at iTEC and baptized BioLA, by cold-bonding of local bio-based by-products, and the concurrent development of compatible binder matrices, in order to achieve the expected carbon footprint improvements at the material, component and building level.

In practice, the novel BioLA-based lightweight concretes (LWC) would bring:

- Cost and energy savings compared to commercial LWC 

- Production flexibility to meet project-specific needs

- Better application-specific performance (less reliance on additional material)

- Weight, cost and energy savings on other building components

- Improved life-cycle efficiency for timber-based construction

- Valorisation and alternative re-use of biomass waste streams (avoiding disposal)

- Timber-compatible end-of-life processing of LWC

- A new local industry that can expand to other markets.

Finally, the envisaged holistic research and development framework would provide the basis to identify and respond to potential opportunities to further reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment with far-reaching social benefits.