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Decarbonising concrete

Dr Natasha Boulding, CEO and co-founder, Low Carbon Materials.

“Early on in LCM’s timeline we met a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at Durham University. He was instrumental in our development; his input helped us believe in what we were doing and recognise the potential in the built environment for low-carbon alternative materials.”

Low Carbon Materials (LCM) was founded by three Durham University PhD graduates who were motivated to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry. Their leading product, OSTO, is a gravel-like aggregate material made from waste ordinarily destined for disposal or incineration, and can be used to replace traditional, carbon-intensive aggregate found in concrete.

Members of the team working on the production of OSTO.
Members of the team working on the production of OSTO.

Concrete is the most globally used material after water, but it comes with a significant carbon cost. Dr Natasha Boulding and her team are tackling this with OSTO, a carbon-negative lightweight aggregate made primarily from plastic waste that would otherwise be incinerated, releasing large quantities of greenhouses gases. By using OSTO, the production of traditional, carbonintensive concrete blocks can be made carbon neutral, reducing global carbon emissions.

Natasha and her team work directly with concrete manufacturers on an individual basis to develop a unique concrete mix design that is compatible with their existing manufacturing processes. They aim to produce OSTO commercially later this year, and in the long term they hope to create an entire portfolio of product-based solutions for the building materials sector.

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