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TRL and Qatar launch sustainable building blocks

VegeBlock, manufactured in a similar way to conventional concrete blocks, is produced from excavation waste material (limestone) and used vegetable oil

Dr Mohammad bin Saif Al-Kuwari (right), head of the Environmental and Municipal Studies Institute at MME and Dr Khaled Hassan (left), country director and head of Middle-East Infrastructure, TRL at the launch of VegeBlock.
Dr Mohammad bin Saif Al-Kuwari (right), head of the Environmental and Municipal Studies Institute at MME and Dr Khaled Hassan (left), country director and head of Middle-East Infrastructure, TRL at the launch of VegeBlock.

Transport and mobility firm, TRL, and Qatar's Ministry of Municipalities and Environment (MME) have announced the launch of VegeBlock.

VegeBlock is a new building block designed to help increase sustainability across the country's construction segment.

The launch of VegeBlock, also known as ‘Smart Block’, represents the latest stage in an ongoing programme of collaborative work between MME and TRL to improve the sustainability and adoption of green construction in the region, a press statement said.

Previous projects have focused on the use of locally available recycled and secondary aggregates in place of imported primary aggregate.

The blocks have been developed from small scale samples produced in laboratories to full-size building blocks using materials and techniques specifically suited to the region.

Composed entirely of recycled aggregates, VegeBlock is manufactured in a similar way to conventional concrete blocks, except that they are cured at higher temperatures for longer periods.

The product has similar properties to low strength concrete and is suitable for use as non-load bearing blocks in buildings.

By using recycled materials and avoiding the use of cement, the cost of production and the carbon footprint of VegeBlock will be significantly lower than that of conventional concrete blocks being used.

The aim of the project was focussed on the development of innovative pre-cast blocks for the construction industry without the use of cement or primary aggregates.

VegeBlock is expected to make a significant contribution to the sustainability of construction in Qatar, according to the statement.

The project enabled the VegeBlock concept to be adapted to the specific conditions and materials available in Qatar ¬– particularly to maximize the use of recycled and waste materials.

VegeBlock contributes to sustainable development and the implementation of the green construction concept through the re-use of materials that might otherwise be disposed of as waste and avoiding the import of the aggregates and cement that are used in conventional concrete building blocks.

VegeBlock is produced from excavation waste material (limestone) and used vegetable oil.

The components are mixed and compacted in a mould and cured in an oven at 170°C for up to two days.

These blocks have strength and durability properties similar to non-load bearing concrete blocks but do not require the use of cement, water or imported aggregates, the statement said.

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