Concrete solutIon dRaIning for the CLimate Environment (CIRCLE)


Dates: October 2020 to June 2023
Project Value: 3.7 million euros
Funders: European Regional Development Fund

A partnership between UEA and six research and business organisations in France and the UK, led by ESITC Caen. This is a new €3.7 million project supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG VA France (Channel) England Programme  (69% co-financing or €2.5 million).  Running for 33 months, from October 2020 to June 2023, the project aims to support innovation in response to the economic and societal challenges of the FCE area by developing circular economy and sustainability aspects of concrete. Alongside UEA, the project’s Lead Partner is ESITC Caen joined by EQIOM Bétons, Communauté d’Agglomérations des 2 Baies en Montreuillois (CA2BM), University of Central Lancashire and Golfe du Morbihan Vannes Agglomérations (GMVA).

The project

Climate change leads to more frequent extreme weather events, including storms, drought, and heatwaves. One of the most significant challenges to urban areas is surface water flooding, caused by heavy precipitation. Besides the intensity and quantity of rainfall, impermeable urban surfaces exacerbate the challenge. Nevertheless, only a quarter of urban surfaces have adopted permeable solutions, most of which based on the use of natural resources (aggregates). Despite higher cost, their production is usually carbon intensive and often environmentally unsustainable.

The CIRCLE project provides novel solutions to permeable urban surfaces by making use of a waste product (seashells), through the offering of a new concrete mix. The project will use sustainable materials and renewable resources. Instead of gravel, it will incorporate shellfish waste, which is abundant across Channel area coasts. Even more importantly, CIRCLE, will filter pollutants present in runoff water and which alter the quality of groundwater. Thus, all downstream biodiversity will be provided with optimal environmental conditions making this a truly sustainable innovation.

The research team at UEA is led by Prof Konstantinos Chalvatzis, Professor of Sustainable Energy Business and Chair of Climate@UEA and Co-Investigator Dr Tiago Botelho (Associate Professor in Business Strategy). They are joined by an excellent team of researchers Dr Dimitrios Pappas (Senior Research Associate), Dr Alexis Ioannidis (Senior Research Associate), and Dr Xin Li (Research Fellow). The research team will lead Work Package 5 focusing on the development of a sustainable business model to impact on market uptake of the novel product.

Several specific research activities will be implemented at UEA in Work Package 5. Firstly, it will develop a sustainable business model by taking into account the concept of circular economy and the innovative characteristics of the innovative product. It is followed by business advisors engagement, which will help understand the views of business stakeholders on the opportunities and challenges facing products sustainability innovations. A unique market offer for sustainable concrete will be provided at the end of the project, which offers vital insights to stimulate market uptake.

For further information regarding the CIRCLE project, contact Prof Konstantinos Chalvatzis on k.**********@ue*.uk .

The Interreg FCE Programme is a European Territorial Co-operation programme that aims to fund high-quality co-operation projects in France and the UK. It focuses on a range of specific objectives including supporting innovations, improving the attractiveness of the FCE area and developing low carbon technologies.

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