The University of Cape Town has once again triumphed to take both top spots in the Greenovate Awards 2021, which encourage, enable and reward innovative solutions for a more sustainable built environment.

They are cutting pollution by adding chicken manure to cement, transforming empty office buildings into indoor urban farms, improving 3D printed concrete construction and swapping sand in concrete with recycled plastic waste.

Purpose of the awards

The Greenovate Awards have been active since 2015, intending to seed an early passion for sustainable development in university students by focusing on challenges and opportunities within the property industry. The programme also showcases up-and-coming talent – the future leaders of the built industry. The result is a growing community of advocates for green building, with a passion for creating a better world and a brighter, greener future.

In 2021, a total of 22 students from five universities – University of the Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town, Northwest University and Stellenbosch University – entered the awards. The students researched current issues, came up with a unique solution to real-life problems and presented their ideas to industry decision-makers.

2nd place winners

Aasif Mohamed, Asemahle Mngxuma and Sacha Harper (University of the Witwatersrand) achieved the second place with their experimental process of introducing chicken manure and other waste industry products (PFA; GGBFS) in concrete, to achieve a zero-cement approach that would be both cost effective and environmentally friendly.

The experiment

Harper, who studied construction management, experimented on how they can replace cement in a concrete design and wanted to make it green, environmentally friendly and sustainable. “We wanted to replace cement with recyclables as additives in concrete to decrease costs in the South African construction industry.” All the elements used (pulverised fly-ash waste from after the coal is burnt from Eskom, chicken manure and GGBS by-product of the steel industry) are readily available.

They tried to solve the worst generation of chicken manure and biomass recyclables to minimise the waste generation by using what is already a problem in South Africa and readily available.

The product

The mix of slag, pulverised fly ash and chicken manure made cement of 10mpa in concrete strength that the government can use to close the housing gap with this cost-effective method. This can be made in a normal mixing machine outside of a lab environment.

The government needs to provide sustainable housing, and this is an effective way to do so. The cost factor is 80% cheaper than standard concrete.

They are very excited because with these results and being the runner-up, they can make a difference and express their results to the world and make a difference by commercialising this product and revolutionize the construction industry as we know it by making it more sustainable.

For more information, contact Growthpoint Properties Limited:
Tel: +11 944 2651

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