THIRD NATURE and DTU are collaborating on upcycling brick waste as cement replacement in concrete. The purpose is to reduce both the climate impact and resource consumption.

1/3 of all waste produced annually in Denmark is construction waste. Hereof brick waste counts for 100-200,000 tons of the garbage. The large amount of brick waste means that resources are lost while the acquisition of raw materials for new building materials is under pressure. Therefore, THIRD NATURE has partnered with DTU to show the upcycling potential for demolished bricks, that cannot be recycled directly today.

The purpose of the collaboration is to examine the possibility of using brick waste in new concrete as a partial substitute for cement. Based on available research the expectation is that cement consumption can be reduced by 10-30%.

That the collaboration has potential was clarified last month, when THIRD NATURE won the 2nd place in Enemærke and Petersen’s Upcycle Challenge for the project “Gray to Red”. Here the idea is to reduce the carbon footprint of a so-called Climate Tile by replacing cement with brick waste.

DTU Byg contributes to the project by conducting a screening of the technological and aesthetical aspects when crushed bricks are used for concrete as partial cement replacement. The performance of this new concrete will be tested on THIRD NATUREs Climate Tile. The tile has been developed for future sidewalks and will handle the effects of climate change as it allows for drainage and control of the rainwater in all directions.

A part of this collaborative initiative is furthermore to calculate the carbon footprint of the new concrete with upcycled bricks as it is expected to have less environmental impact. The calculation will be performed by DTU Environment.

The collaboration between THIRD NATURE and DTU has gained funding through VIS, that aims to increase the number of innovative SMEs in the Capital Region by supporting the development of new innovative solutions in the water sector.

VIS is anchored in the Water DTU center, which collects DTU’s expertise in the water area across DTU’s many institutes. Other partners in the project are CLEAN, Vækstforum Hovedstaden and Scion DTU.