Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Development of sustainable and low carbon concretes for the Gulf environment

At a glance

Principal investigator: Kevin Paine
Co-investigator: Pete Walker
Researcher: Mohammod Abu Saleh
Dates: 2009-2013


Oil and power industries in the Gulf region are driving economic growth by supporting a population boom and diversification into new business sectors. This rapid growth also means that the region is amongst the world’s worst polluters per capita, although moves to address carbon in the region are developing at an extraordinary pace.

Since the majority of construction within the Gulf region utilises concrete as the core building material it is imperative that CO2 emissions related to its use are controlled. For example, Portland cement which acts as the principal binding material in almost all concrete used in ordinary construction, produces over 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 per annum globally.

The cement industry has sought to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions through incremental process improvements and the use of cement replacement materials, although much of this research is focussing on use of alternative forms of concrete that can be used in low to medium performance concretes, where requirements for strength and durability are less severe.

However, the Gulf environment is particularly severe with regard to: temperature and aggressive environment such as chloride and sulphate exposure. Therefore, options to improve the sustainability of concrete for this environment will need to be more robust and technologically sound, leading to significant new research problems.

Methods to achieve low carbon and sustainable concrete that will be investigated as part of this research include:

  • Reduced cement content concretes
  • New binder materials
  • Novel Cement: low energy and low carbon cement
  • Recycled and secondary aggregates
  • Use of local materials