Circular economy cluster program invites concrete companies to an innovation challenge to test the utilisation of demolition wool in concrete production

There are still few possibilities for reusing buildings’ insulation mineral wool, and in Finland alone, up to 20,000 tonnes of mineral wool ends up in landfills a year. The City of Helsinki's circular economy cluster program is organising an innovation challenge for concrete companies, where companies can test the utilisation of wool powder made from demolition wool in the manufacture of concrete.

The construction sector’s role in combating climate change and reducing the use of natural resources is crucial. The innovation challenge aims to find new concrete recipes and products that use demolition wool powder as an alternative binder. In addition, the theme of the innovation challenge is significant for the circular economy, as there is little re-use of demolition wool, and it ends up in landfills in Finland alone, up to 20,000 tonnes per year. 

Wool powder ground from insulating wool can be used as an alternative binder to manufacture concrete, partially replacing cement. Cement is the most used material on earth after water and is used up to 2.5 tonnes per capita per year. Alternative cement-type binders that use recycled raw materials such as mineral wool powder can reduce the environmental impact of concrete by up to 80-90 per cent. 

The demolition wool will be collected from Laakso Hospital, demolished in spring 2022, and ground into a suitable wool powder as a binder. Wool powder will be handed to the companies participating in the innovation challenge for their experiment. 

Open call for concrete companies 

Finnish concrete companies and operators with a business ID are welcome to apply for the innovation challenge. The application period ended on 12.6. and 5-10 companies will be selected for the actual challenge. Companies will receive wool powder in August 2022 and will have two months for independent experiments. The results will be evaluated at a demo day at Helsinki City Hall at the end of October. The circular economy cluster program will continue to work with the company that presented the best solution, helping to find practical test sites for a new concrete recipe or product. 

The innovation challenge is organised in cooperation with the EU funded WOOL2LOOP project, Green Building Council Finland, Ytekki and Verona Growth. 

To whom? For Finnish concrete companies and operators with a business ID.

What? Opportunity to get wool powder for concrete experiments and expert support and guidance. 

Why? Join the ranks of brave forerunners in accelerating the transition to the use of recycled materials in concrete production. Participants will get visibility through Helsinki’s and partners’ channels. The best team will get a chance to present their solution at the Ministry of Environment’s Circular Economy in Construction event, and the City of Helsinki will help find suitable test sites.

When? The application for the innovation challenge was open until June 12. Eligible companies will receive a batch of wool powder and expert sparring in August 2022. The experiments will be presented in October 2022. 

Inquiries about the innovation challenge can be sent to Jenni Uusitalo: 

Photo: Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy