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From the organisers of

Innovandi Kick-off Week gets under way

Claude Loréa

Cement and Concrete Research Network addresses sustainability and emissions challenges 

INNOVANDI – the Global Cement and Concrete Research Network – has launched its inaugural week of online workshops, aimed at accelerating global collaboration on cement and concrete research.

The event brings together 40 scientific institutions from around the world and 30 leading industry players from across the cement and concrete sector, including cement and concrete manufacturers, admixture specialists and equipment suppliers.

Over the course of the week, the Innovandi industrial and academic partners will set the key themes for future research projects to improve sustainability and decrease CO2 emissions.

With climate action within the built environment being a key driver of innovation within the cement and concrete industry, Innovandi aims to build on the industry’s progress so far, which includes achieving a 19.2% reduction in CO2 per tonne of cementitious product since 1990. Additionally, the proportion of alternative fuels used is now 9.5 times greater than in 1990.

Claude Loréa (pictured), GCCA cement director, said: ‘Concrete is fundamentally important to our world today and will play a crucial role in building the sustainable world of tomorrow. It is, therefore, critical to support and accelerate the breakthrough processes and products that will improve sustainability and decrease carbon emissions.

‘The Innovandi Kick-off Week offers a platform for leaders from across the world of cement and concrete to collaborate with academic institutions and define the cutting-edge research that will address these challenges and help us create a better future.’

As part of a long-held commitment to a sustainable future, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) established Innovandi last year as a network to connect the industry with scientific institutions and drive forward innovation focused on climate action.

Wolfgang Dienemann, director of global research and development at HeidelbergCement and industrial chair of Innovandi, said: ‘Innovandi offers our industry the chance to engage with institutions around the world, which are at the forefront of research, to discuss the unique challenges we face.

‘This kind of collaboration is essential to laying the scientific foundations for the development of the innovative products and processes we need to improve our industry’s sustainability.’

Karen Scrivener, director of the Laboratory of Construction Materials at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and scientific chair of Innovandi, said: ‘The partnership between universities and industry leaders is an immensely powerful force in driving forward the innovation that will address the most pressing issue of our time: climate change.

‘Innovandi allows us to connect with the cement and concrete industry to apply our research to help build a more sustainable world.’

Innovandi’s work programme will be delivered through two key workstreams: process innovation and product innovation.

Process innovation includes new ways to produce cement and concrete to help reduce its carbon footprint as the industry works towards net-zero emissions. A key focal point is carbon capture and utilization, and the development of a ‘carbon economy’ that re-evaluates CO2 as a usable commodity rather than a waste product.

Product innovation focuses on the development of alternative binders and new mixtures to reduce process emissions during cement production. These are aimed at reducing CO2 emissions (which account for 60% of the total emissions from the cement industry) – a key goal for the sector.

The Innovandi Kick-off Week runs from today (29 June) to 3 July for network partners. The event has switched to a digital format as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the industry’s first online collaborative consortium gathering. More information on Innovandi can be found here.

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