SBRI: Decarbonising concrete

Organisations can apply for a share of £3m inc VAT to develop solutions to accelerate decarbonising concrete.

Opportunity Details

When

Registration Opens

08/01/2024

Registration Closes

04/03/2024

Award

Projects can range in size up to total costs of £500,000, inclusive of VAT. SBRIs can be 100% funded.

Organisation

Innovate UK

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Find out more and apply

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by Innovate UK. The aim of this research, development and demonstration competition is to make the commercial adoption of lower carbon concrete happen faster. The results will enable engagement between innovation projects and end users.

The purpose of this competition is to:

  • demonstrate market demand
  • commercially de-risk innovations
  • encourage investment
  • accelerate adoption

Your project will be supported by Demand Led activities throughout.

The Concrete Commitment Cohort (CCC) was established for the purpose of this competition. The members of CCC helped in the scope development and will stay informed about progress of funded projects.

This competition is also formed within a broader programme of work led by Carbon Limiting Technologies that aims to develop Advance Market Commitments (AMC) for solutions that decarbonise concrete. Your project may be invited to participate in activities developing an AMC.

  • To lead a project, you can:

    • be an organisation of any size
    • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors

    Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. However, you can justify subcontracting components of the work, taking into consideration the range of subcontractors required to deliver your project outcomes. These outcomes must accelerate the development of solutions for decarbonising concrete.

  • Projects must:

    • start by 1 May 2024
    • end by 30 April 2025
    • last between 9 and 12 months

    Your project must demonstrate how innovations will decarbonise concrete production and do one or both of the following:

    • address technical uncertainties in the formulation and use of innovative concrete, this can include production and the supply chain
    • address technical uncertainties in innovations within the production, supply chain and use of commercially available concretes
  • The aim of this research, development and demonstration competition is to make the commercial adoption of lower carbon concrete happen faster. The results will enable engagement between innovation projects and end users.

    This may be delivered by producing outcomes that increases the potential for future end users to make Advance Market Commitments (AMC) to buy the product on a commercial basis.

    Your project must demonstrate how innovations will decarbonise concrete production and do one or both of the following:

    • address technical uncertainties in the formulation and use of innovative concrete, this can include production and the supply chain
    • address technical uncertainties in innovations within the production, supply chain and use of commercially available concretes

    In this competition innovative concretes are defined as types of concrete that are not fully commercially adopted due to technical uncertainties in their production, supply chain or use.

    Your project may include but is not limited to:

    • alternatives to Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) as a concrete binder, for example, calcined clay or combinations of calcined clay and limestone
    • improving the efficiency or optimisation of cement or concrete production, for example kiln efficiency or reducing binder content
    • recycling of cement
    • additives that reduce the carbon footprint of new concrete structures
    • new construction techniques that take advantage of the properties of innovative concretes
    • using concrete to sequester carbon
    • investigating different concrete chemistry for reinforced concrete, if it shows clearly, it can decarbonise concrete
  • We expect you to provide a real world demonstration of your innovation, or an equivalent approach that can be shown to accelerate commercial adoption. You are responsible for ensuring performance data is made public to the extent needed to support commercialisation.

    Innovate UK can provide a list of potential demonstration sites offered by the Concrete Commitment Cohort (CCC), but you can use any site which is technically relevant.

    Carbon Commitment Cohort (CCC) includes representatives of:

    • Anglian Water
    • Environment Agency
    • Ferrovial
    • HS2
    • JN Bentley
    • Laing O’Rourke
    • National Highways
    • Sellafield Sites
    • Transport for London
    • United Utilities
    • WSP

    You can email support@iuk.ukri.org to request contact information for these organisations.

    If your project involves concrete remaining in-situ at a demonstration site, you are responsible for:

    • handing over ownership of any concrete to the demonstration site by the end of the project
    • ensuring Innovate UK and partners retain access to the site for at least 2 years after the project has ended, for the purpose of performance monitoring of concrete

    If successful, you will be asked to complete a short Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data collection template, as part of your project. This template will be provided to you by Innovate UK. This will support a future project on the data quality of LCA for steel, cement and concrete run by Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ).

    You may be invited to undertake further carbon accounting activities as a part of the wider programme to develop an AMC.

  • We will not fund projects that:

    • use fresh fly ash or Ground Granulated Blast furnace Slag (GGBS) as principal Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs), unless the innovation is actively looking to reduce their use
    • develop alternative fuels for cement production
    • develop Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) applied to cement production where this does not involve the captured carbon being sequestered in concrete
    • concern construction techniques that solely minimise the use of concrete that is already commercially available
    • concern the replacement of concrete with other building materials
    • solely focus on additives without considering their use in concrete
    • are not original, in scope or duplicates someone else’s work
  • Innovate UK KTN held an online briefing on Tuesday 9 January: click here to watch the recording of the briefing event.

    If you would like help to find a subcontractor or demonstration partner, contact Innovate UK KTN’s Materials team, or email support@iuk.ukri.org to request contact details for members of the CCC.

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