Finnish company Betolar expands to Indian concrete markets with a cement-free concrete solution

Betolar, a Finnish start-up
Betolar, a Finnish start-up, and innovator of geopolymer concrete solution Geoprime®, has expanded its operations to Europe and Asian markets including India, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Betolar’s innovation Geoprime® is the next-generation, low carbon solution and a sustainable alternative to cement. It is a mix design and a material that enables one to create 100% cement-free construction materials out of industrial side streams such as Fly ash and Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS). Geoprime solution combines these industrial by-products with special alkaline activators. The solution’s durability and strength properties are comparable to cement-based products, but the Geoprime enables significantly lower carbon footprint.

In India, Betolar’s first customers have now started production of green concrete products which were presented at the World of Concrete in Mumbai

“When we attended the World of Concrete (WoC), we were overwhelmed by the interest towards our green concrete solution in the Indian market. We have already published contracts with five different pre-cast concrete manufacturers in India during the summer, and based on the interest at WoC we can sign some new contracts soon,” says Abhishek Bhattacharya, Managing Director, Betolar India.

Betolar, a Finnish start-up
At the trade event, Betolar displayed concrete products made with Geoprime® solution from Indian manufacturers, which included various types of paving blocks, concrete blocks, and floor tiles. In Europe, Betolar customers have manufactured products such as electric car charging poles, concrete barriers, paving stones, and sewage pipes.

“We are very motivated to bring this solution to India’s construction market to enable low carbon concrete production here. We have some great examples from Europe of successful deliveries and now we are looking forward to a successful implementation in India and constantly looking for more manufacturers to join the green transition,” adds Bhattacharya.

Betolar, a Finnish start-up

FC Nüdling introduces low carbon paving stones in Germany
Betolar, a Finnish start-up
In Germany, Betolar’s customer FC Nüdling has introduced low carbon paving blocks made with Geoprime solution. FC Nüdling (FCN) is a supplier of concrete block products for gardening and landscaping operating in the Southern part of Germany. The company has been operating over 125 years; every year, FCN mines 1.2 million tons of basalt and phonolite in their three quarries and processes 445,000 tons of concrete in their plants. Since the mid-80s they have produced over one million square meters of noise barriers.

In the classic production method of concrete paving blocks, cement has been used as a binder up to now. The disadvantage of this raw material is that a lot of CO2 emissions are released during production. The current composition of a concrete block paving with a stone height of 8 cm emits around 20 kg of CO2 per sqm. With Geoprime® solution, this figure can be significantly reduced to less than 5 kg of CO2 per sqm - a whopping 75% less compared to the previous value. To reach these significant CO2 reductions, FCN is using Geoprime geopolymer binder.

“Geoprime allows us the transition into using low carbon concrete products in all of our units, step by step,” says Bernhard Klöppner, CEO, FC Nudling.

Geoprime® solution saves over 50% CO2 from sewage pipes in Denmark
The Danish concrete producer IBF A/S is one of the first companies to have started manufacturing sewage pipes completely without cement by using Geoprime®. With the help of Geoprime, IBF’s sewage pipes more than halve the CO2 footprint compared to ordinary concrete pipes, and the result has been achieved without compromising on strength, dimensions, durability, and leaching of harmful substances from the pipes.

Aarhus Vand is IBF’s first customer in Denmark to implement these cement-free concrete pipes on a stretch of 600 meters in Lykkesholms Allé in the Aarhus district of Viby, and more will follow.

Aarhus Vand is a utility company which supplies drinking water and handles sewage for 350,000 private and business customers in the Aarhus area. “It is generally a challenge to reduce CO2 emissions in construction work because many large, diesel-powered machines and concrete are used, which have a high CO2 footprint. The cement-free concrete pipes from IBF are a solution that supports the whole movement, which Aarhus Vand is involved in to reduce our CO2 footprint. It is a much welcome contribution,” says Morten Østergaard Nielsen, Project Manager at Aarhus Vand.

No changes in production required
For IBF, the cement-free concrete pipes do not entail major changes in the production of the pipes, and on the surface, it is almost indistinguishable from an ordinary concrete pipe. Not even for contractor Arkil A/S, who laid the Ø500 and Ø600 diameter pipes in the ground on Lykkesholms Allé, has anything changed compared to working with traditional concrete pipes.

Construction manager Flemming Holm from Arkil has actively contributed in getting the project started, and for him it is a big plus that the construction work can be made more climate-friendly without having to change the work processes. “Apart from the color, there is no difference at all in storing and installing the cement-free concrete pipes. Installing them requires no additional training or instructions, so it’s just a matter of putting them in the ground,” he says.

“Our cooperation with Betolar has worked well; using Geoprime® in our production is very easy because we did not have to make any major changes in our production processes. We have other projects in the pipeline, and we expect that demand will increase after these first public launches,” says Jesper K. K. Bang, Engineer and Head of department, IBF.
NBM ICCT, November-December 2022
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