Sika enters concrete recycling partnership with South Pole

25 August 2023 2 min. read

Specialty chemicals group Sika has entered into a partnership with global climate consultancy South Pole to develop new facilities for completely recycling old concrete while simultaneously storing CO2 that would otherwise be released.

The climate action program aims at addressing concrete waste within the construction industry, one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, which exacerbate climate change.

Around 40% of global CO2 emissions are linked to construction and building, with the current 30 billion ton demand for concrete rising as urbanization spreads in population centers around the world.

Sika enters concrete recycling partnership with South Pole

The partnership will look to leverage Sika’s trademarked reCO2ver technology, a specialized method of concrete recycling. South Pole’s support for this innovative technology will help to demonstrate the viability of a novel CO2 capture and storage scheme with real potential to lower emissions in a difficult-to-abate industry.

The program is being developed in accordance with guidelines established by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).

“Negative emission technologies are becoming increasingly important tools to achieve global net-zero goals. With this groundbreaking initiative, we are taking another step to scale climate action in the field of technological carbon capture and permanent storage in Europe through climate financing,” said Christian Dannecker, global senior director of climate projects at South Pole.

Sika’s method for recycling concrete breaks it up into its component materials – gravel, sand, and cement – and in the process, captures CO2 that would otherwise be released. This technology captures around 15 kilograms of CO2 per ton of material recycled.

A pilot plant in Switzerland has been testing this method since October 2021. With the successful pilot now complete, South Pole is helping Sika scale the technology with the hope that it can be adopted more widely. Founded in 1910, Sika has 33,000 staff and operations worldwide.

“Enabling the financing and implementation of CO2 capture and storage projects is part of South Pole's strategy. The development of this pioneering project aligns with a rapidly growing demand for CO2-utilisation solutions,” said South Pole head of communications Willy-Andreas Heckmann.