Concretene panel MIPIM p.PNW

A panel at MIPIM extolled the virtues of the innovative material, founded in Manchester. Credit: PNW

MIPIM | Concretene primed and ready for global roll-out 

MIPIM coverage sponsored by TogetherThe team behind the development of graphene-infused concrete is working to drastically reduce the cost of the material to help the industry meet looming net-zero targets. 

When first developed, the price of graphene per kilogram was in the thousands of pounds, making concretene – a material that uses dramatically less cement than standard concrete – an innovative but expensive commodity. 

However, work to drive efficiencies in the development of the material could see the price of graphene dip below £100/kg in the coming months, paving the way for concretene’s widespread adoption, according to chief operating officer Mike Harrison. 

Harrison recently made the move from developer U+I to Concretene, having taken the gamble to utilise the material in foundation slabs at Mayfield, the Manchester mixed-use development that U+I is delivering. 

It is a product he firmly believes in but he understands innovation is nothing without the buy-in of the development and construction sectors. 

“As an industry, I think it’s one of the key tools that allow us to take embodied carbon down to acceptable levels,” he said. 

“We need to be working with people to help us on that journey to viability and have that commitment to iron out – like I did as a developer and asset owner – some of those wrinkles en route,” he said. 

The opportunity that concretene presents aligns with the global push for more sustainable methods of construction and, in short, will make reduce the carbon impact of construction. At present, 39% of global emissions come from buildings. 

Nationwide Engineering, the Manchester-based company that first took the punt on putting graphene in concrete, estimates that the use of concretene could reduce the cost of construction by between 10% and 20%. 

In addition, using concretene could reduce the volume of concrete needed in building projects by 30% by halving the amount of cement required.

Speaking at MIPIM, Harrison said: “We’re looking for people to join us on that journey and be the innovators.” 

In 12 months’ time, Harrison envisions concretene will have gone from prototype to pre-production. Another year to 24 months after that is when the product will be available “off the shelf” he said. 

Harrison implored those in attendance to help break down barriers that will allow concretene to be rolled out on a large scale. 

“Speak to your funders, speak to your insurers. I want that can-do attitude,” he said. 

Hang around the Manchester stand for long enough at MIPIM and you will no doubt hear mention of the city’s proactive, collaborative attitude towards innovation. 

Indeed, Alex McDermott, co-founder of Nationwide Engineering, believes the success of concretene to date can be directly traced to its origins. 

“We could not have created concretene anywhere other than Manchester,” he said. 

“The city, the institutions, and people really gave us the confidence to start the journey. Without them, we would not have done it, the risk was too great.” 

In 2025, new legislation that will require all new buildings to be net zero carbon will come into force. 

The scaling of concretene may have come just in time. As long as the industry responds to the opportunity. 

Place North West MIPIM 2023 coverage is sponsored by Together.

Your Comments

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Great news no the industry just need to tackle the chronic lack of training and increasingly poor quality finished product it offers up.


It is a proper wonder material – same strength for lower cement content, zero shrinkage so no crack control reinforcement, and water resistant which enhances durability. I can think of dozens of uses where it could replace traditional concrete.
Honestly though, there’s no point putting too much effort into marketing Concretene until you can say simply “this is compliant with the Building Regulations, BS EN 1992 and BS 8500, and here’s what to write in your NBS or NSCS specification”. That’s all designers need to use it in projects.

By W

Shouldn’t any and all construction in Manchester being using Concretene? Great product, great company, from a great City.

By Philip Smith-Lawrence

Fitting that such a great product was developed where so much construction is going on. Manchester should really look to develop that new signature building using Concretene

By James

Not an invention. Graphene is basically graphite rearranged.

By Eric

Who is oroviding the Graphene as surely the Graphene has to be the right quality.

By Pul warwick

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