Singapore-based waste management solutions provider Blue Planet yesterday announced the strategic acquisition of a UK-based Virtus Concrete Solutions, a green building product manufacturing company.
Virtus Concrete's key offering are sustainable concrete blocks called Blockwalls, manufactured from 87% recycled materials comprising mainly low-value inert waste materials. With this technology, Blue Planet has strengthened its ability to provide end-to-end waste management solutions.
"By directing the waste material and suitable by-products from across our operations and synergistically converting them into green building products, Blue Planet will truly be able to achieve its vision of 'zero waste to landfill'," said Bharadwaj Chivukula, founder, Blue Planet.
By combining Blockwalls technology with its existing organic, plastic and metal waste processing technologies in its portfolio, Blue Planet will now provide a complete solution to process the municipal waste stream. Furthermore, this acquisition will add to the company's ability to facilitate the clearing of landfill sites for effective remediation.
Chivukula added: "Currently, the construction industry contributes to 11% of global carbon emissions, a significant proportion of which belongs to the cement and glass industry. As countries around the world experience increasing rates of urbanisation, there is growing pressure for the industry to find sustainable and green materials as a direct response to climate change and to meet their sustainable development targets."
Blue Planet's carefully curated technologies are aligned with its core strategy to contribute to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of development targets adopted by member nations to be achieved by 2030, and the 10 principles of the United National Global Compact.
Pushing green technology to Asia
Virtus Concrete is the latest acquisition by Blue Planet, which in recent months have included e-waste and industrial waste processing technologies.
Madhujeet Chimni, founder and chairman, Blue Planet remarked: "With the acquisition of Virtus Concrete and complemented by other Blue Planet companies such as the recently acquired Globecycle in Malaysia and Smart Creative's e-waste processing technology in the UK, Blue Planet is achieving its vision of closing the loop on waste.”
“This latest acquisition is an opportunity to provide infrastructure solutions made from the diverse waste streams that we process. We consider this acquisition a pivotal step towards becoming the first circular waste processing solution provider in the region," he added.
Blue Planet is backed by investors like the Neev fund, an infrastructure-focused private equity fund that was created as a partnership between State Bank of India (SBI) and the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID), which aims to bring sustainable solutions to the region for inclusive economic development and environment sustainability
Building out of waste
Virtus Concrete is a bespoke pre-cast geopolymer concrete product manufacturer and solutions provider with a focus on civil, groundwork and infrastructure projects. With a patent-pending design, the company provides a stacking solution that has a unique reinforced design which allows the blocks to be installed to a height of over 8 metres, almost double the height of any other block provider.
"Concrete is the most widely used man-made material on the planet today and it has a significant carbon footprint. The invention of Blockwalls is a game-changer for the industry as it not only reduces the carbon emissions generated during the manufacturing of concrete blocks by up to 80%, but it also does so by using materials that would otherwise end up in landfills," said Jonathan Quinn, founder, Virtus Concrete and inventor of Blockwalls.
The geopolymer block is made from glass recovered from recycling e-waste, construction and demolition waste and other inert materials. Sodium silicate, which is a by-product of the e-waste recycling process, is added to the geopolymer mix to make solid, robust blocks that are 90% more environmentally friendly.
Virtus Concrete carried out a carbon assessment of their novel concrete block in collaboration with Lancaster Environment Centre. This study demonstrated that one Virtus geopolymer concrete mix block, can achieve carbon dioxide emission savings of 105.4 kg compared to that of a standard concrete block.
Every year, Virtus Concrete produces about 7,500 Blockwalls (measuring 1600 x 800 x 800 mm) from its facility in the UK and provides a sustainable alternative for the construction and infrastructure industries. These blocks are also a cost-effective alternative to comparable steel and soil reinforcements or conventionally reinforced concrete retaining walls which have a significantly higher environmental footprint.
Quinn said: "We have incorporated many different waste materials such as kiln ash into our geopolymer blocks, wherein the kiln ash replaces the fine aggregates in the mix. This mix reduces the dependence on landfills for disposal of municipal waste and also replaces aggregates that would otherwise be mined.
We are producing green infrastructure by saving the environment and also hope to continue generating positive social impact helping the community through meaningful job creation and skill development in the communities we operate in," he added.
This circular economy solution is particularly suitable for countries that produce a significant amount of incinerated bottom ash and are seeking to redirect it to the infrastructure and construction industry, thereby closing the resource loop.
Blockwalls structures can be set up instantaneously without expensive and tedious joining methods. They can be shaped and designed to be used for multiple purposes such as to create material bays, segregation walls, storage sheds, barriers, marine defence blocks and material retention walls.