Oslo-based global transdisciplinary architecture and design practice Snøhetta has entered into a strategic partnership with Norwegian startup Saferock to produce and market a more sustainable form of concrete.

Perhaps the most widely used building material in the world, concrete is a major contributor to the carbon footprint of the building and construction industry. Cement, a key constituent of concrete, is the source of about 8% of the world's CO2 emissions, according to think-tank Chatham House. To reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, annual global CO2 emissions associated with concrete will need to drastically reduce in the near future.

Saferock’s patented technology is based on the game-changing idea to develop a low emission concrete as an alternative to the conventional Portland cement-based concrete. This innovative technology gives new value to the residues, by-products and waste produced by industrial processes.

Geopolymer concrete, described by Saferock as ‘a type of inorganic polymers consisting of minerals, typically stemming from waste streams from mining industries and power plants’ gives new life to mining waste that has – until now – presented a major environmental threat globally.

Saferock’s low carbon concrete will be produced on-site, eliminating transport emissions and saving time in construction schedules.

Very importantly, carbon emissions linked to the production of geopolymer concrete will be 70% less compared to traditional Portland cement. Saferock’s concrete also delivers benefits such as higher temperature and chemical resistance as well as significantly lower permeability in comparison.

“The first step of the research project is to pilot and scale up the development of tomorrow’s building materials in the form of low emission concrete. The next step will be to ensure that the technology and materials are a part of a circular ecosystem. This will truly impact the industry's environmental footprint,” says the team behind the development of the new concrete innovation.

Going forward, Snøhetta and Saferock aim to produce fully CO2 neutral or zero carbon concrete by 2025.

“The project is in line with our mission to reduce the environmental footprint of the building industry, and to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable building materials,” adds Snøhetta.