Three scientists from the Dresden University of Technology have been awarded the Federal President’s ‘Future Prize’ for the development of ‘carbonbeton’ or carbon concrete which is a robust and environmentally friendly alternative to reinforced concrete.
The material is economical, efficient and beautiful. Thousands of carbon fibres are formed into grids and coated with concrete. The result is incredibly thin plates. They are lighter, more durable and easier to mould than conventional steel. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the project consortium “C3 – Carbon Concrete Composite” with 45 million euros until 2021 under the “Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation” programme.
Three scientists from the Dresden University of Technology developed the idea for the carbon concrete: Manfred Curbach, the director of the Institute for Massive Construction, and Peter Offermann, a retired professor at the Institute of Textile Machinery and Textile High Performance Materials, the latter which is now headed by Chokri Cherif. They accepted the award from the Federal President, Joachim Gauck, in Berlin.
The Federal President’s Future Prize is one of the most important innovation awards in Germany. The key criteria include innovation-driven research performance and the marketability of the product. The carbon concrete easily fulfilled these, inc.: extensive research that involved 140 institutes and companies, which developed a product that paves the way for a new building material to enter the market. The potential is enormous: around 160 million tonnes of steel are used every year to reinforce concrete (about 4 millions tonnes in Germany alone). The aim is to replace 20 percent of the steel with carbon in the next ten years.
Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).