Arup takes stake in graphene-enhanced concrete venture

Aaron Morby 1 year ago
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An innovative technology that adds wonder materials graphene to concrete mixes is being hailed as a way to slash carbon emissions by nearly a third in construction.

Grapheme-enhanced concrete should be commercially available in three years
Grapheme-enhanced concrete should be commercially available in three years

Consultant Arup has taken an equity stake in a new venture with developer Nationwide Engineering Research & Development (NERD) and international graphene supplier Black Swan Graphene to promote the new product Concretene.

Concretene is a graphene-enhanced admixture for concrete. The grapheme strengthens the concrete meaning that 30% less concrete can be used in most applications. It also reduce cracking.

The product has been developed in partnership with The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre.

NERD envisages a three-year journey to full commercial roll-out of Concretene to the wider construction industry, alongside project partners including Heathrow and Manchester Airports, Network Rail, National Highways and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

These early adopters will see immediate benefits through reductions in embodied carbon, while assisting in the programme of laboratory work and large-scale field trials that will ultimately prove the reliability,reproducibility and cost profile needed for successful commercial deployment ofthe technology.

Arup will get 4.2% equity in NERD in exchange for collaboration and expertise towards global roll-out of the technology.

The other partner Black Swan Graphene produces low-cost and high-performance graphene powders, derived from graphite.

Black Swan intends to increase its graphene production significantly from its site in Quebec, Canada.

Rob Hibberd, CEO of Nationwide Engineering Research & Development, said: “We are delighted to formalise these partnerships with Black Swan and Arup as part of NERD and we look forward to combining our skillsets to deliver Concretene to the construction industry in our drive to reduce global CO2 emissions.

“This is further enhanced by our unique, long-term research collaboration with the University of Manchester to further understand the complex world of nanomaterial technology.

“We see Concretene as the first product of many that this partnership will develop, with progress in paints, polymers and asphalt already in advanced stages as well.”

Matt Lovell, Director at Arup, said: “We look forward to using our commercial know-how and deep expertise in the built environment to help NERD’s innovators realise the full potential of Concretene.”

Concretene ease of use for decarbonisation


  • Designers can continue to use existing codes so it can be brought to market easily
  • It is non-disruptive so suppliers can use existing batching plants and technologies
  • Supply chains do not have to undergo fundamental change
  • Contractors can use the material easily on site
  • It allows for evolution of concrete and can suit any type of potential concrete design
  • It allows the potential to be recycled, creating a sustainable lifecycle

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