Innovation Exchange challenge: Sustainable structures to replace precast concrete

Supporting the UK arm of a major blue-chip international organisation to identify sustainable materials and manufacturers to replace existing precast concrete components.

Opportunity Details


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An exclusive opportunity to become a vital part of the supply chain for the UK division of a prestigious global blue-chip company. Selected solutions will be assessed, collaboratively developed and trialled with the potential for full adoption. Lower TRL longer-term solutions may be selected for collaborative development.

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Our challenge holder is a UK based global PLC with a portfolio of outdoor product lines with clear strategic sustainability and circular economy targets.

Within one product line they currently use a complex, highly finished, modular precast concrete component, circa 1000kg.  The product is being redeveloped to meet their  corporate sustainability goals, requiring the adoption of more sustainable but dense materials with efficient processing, cost and scalability for mass production.

This challenge will require solution providers to demonstrate how their alternative material can be utilised within the product line whilst providing insight into how their material will align with circular economic values. The challenge holder expects a clear strategy delineating the material’s lifecycle management over its 60-year tenure, minimizing ecological footprints and maximizing environmental stewardship.

The challenge seeks both sustainable material suppliers and processors that could realise ramped up manufacturing within 6-9 months as well as less well-developed technologies that offer significant sustainability impacts to help the challenge holder meet its stretch sustainability targets.

The ambition is for highly sustainable solutions that last a very long time with minor and easy refit and maximise circularity at the end of the product life-cycle.

Partners are sought who can provide and process (in quantity) measurably more sustainable materials that also ideally offer secondary advantages such as reduced permeability, better durability, stronger aesthetics, better circularity.  Sustainable solutions could be based upon:

  • Sustainable cement replacements
  • Net zero binders
  • Recycled aggregates
  • Demolition waste
  • Performance additives
  • Orphan stone
  • Repurposed concrete
  • Repurposed stone

This is not an exhaustive list.

This monolithic unit is a complex shape and has to have a polished surface finish, resistant to the UK climate and offer no hazard to people who might be in contact with it.  The unit is under 1cu.m of material and sits in an envelope of roughly 1.5cu.m, it is a single finished piece with a number of precise inserts, or similar, for structural connection of other components.

The challenge primarily seeks:

Materials suppliers offering appropriate sustainable materials with appropriate technical support, and

Materials Suppliers partnered with Materials Processors able to process the sustainable materials to the quality and rate intimated.

As a secondary ask, the challenge also seeks lower TRL Material Suppliers and academia.

For full requirements (technical, functional, scope, operating conditions and cost), visit the Innovation Exchange site at the link below.

Who can apply?

Entrants to this competition must be established businesses, academic institutions, start-ups, SMEs, or individual entrepreneurs, who are UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base.


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