Almenn verkefni 2024

Heiti verkefnis : 

Constructing Pavement with Carbon-Negative Materials

Verkefnastjóri : 


Stutt lýsing á verkefninu:


This project focuses on the development of pavements using carbon-negative materials such as bio-bricks and biocrete. It emphasizes the need for increased research in carbon-negative materials to support global efforts in phasing out fossil fuels and achieving Paris Agreement climate goals. The use of bio-based materials is seen as crucial in reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint associated with construction and infrastructure. The project aims to address the growing gap between available resources, environmental hazards, and emissions from built environments. The text highlights the significant carbon footprint of infrastructure in developed countries compared to developing ones and underscores the urgency of adopting sustainable materials to stay within the 1.5-2°C carbon budget available until 2050. The impending large-scale infrastructure development in the Capital area is identified as a potential contributor to global emissions.
The construction industry plays a crucial role in achieving climate stability, and the adoption of regenerative methods contributes to the resilience and long-term sustainability of cities and the well-being of their citizens. The use of carbon-negative materials and regenerative techniques in building is deemed essential for the development of climate-sustainable cities. The concept of carbon-negative materials involves removing more carbon from the atmosphere during their production and use phase than they emit, aligning with the goal of reducing the overall carbon footprint and mitigating climate change within the 1.5-degree warming target (Minx, 2018).. Specifically, targeting road infrastructure and transforming pavements into carbon sinks using such materials is seen as a significant step toward realizing a truly sustainable city.
This study focuses on the utilization of carbon-negative materials, such as bio-bricks and biocrete, in both indoor and outdoor pavement construction. Emphasizing bio-regenerative bricks, the research aims to make a significant impact on climate studies and contribute to global environmental sustainability in the field of infrastructure. The project is organized into three work packages (WP) with defined tasks and milestones, aiming to generate outcomes applicable to Vegagerðin for research, policymaking, innovation, and educational purposes at Háskóli Íslands. Although the project's primary focus is the Capital area, the findings are expected to have broader relevance and applicability to projects in the Nordic countries.

Tilgangur og markmið:


The current built environment contributes significantly to emissions, mainly due to the prevalent use of synthetic materials in architecture (Satola et al., 2020). However, the built environment has the potential to serve as a sink for emissions if intentionally designed for such purpose. Achieving this requires a fundamental shift in how we conceptualize and approach the built environment and development of activities within it. Adapting resource usage to align with the 1.5-degree Celsius goal is crucial, as well as research into innovative material use (Rockstrom et al., 2009).
Common construction material like concrete, asphalt and crude oil byproducts have high emission intensities and need attention in terms of their environmental impact (Satola et al. 2020). Exploring regenerative materials, including carbon-negative options, becomes essential as an alternative. Global evidence suggests that urban development areas increase environmental burdens, rather than reduce them. Iceland is no exception. The Sustainable Development Report for 2022 highlights Iceland's insufficient actions in achieving climate goals, responsible consumption and production, and sustainable life on land (Sustainable Development Report).

The primary objectives of this project are:
1)    Provide insight into the use of carbon negative materials, bio-brick and biocrete, as regenerative pavement infrastructure material.
2)    Access the Environmental benefit of using selected carbon-negative materials, bio-brick and biocrete, as replacement for conventional pavements in selected infrastructure objects.
The project is in line with goal C.3 of the Icelandic Government’s Climate Action Plan on GHG mitigation of the construction industry. It relates to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 9 - Industry, innovation, and infrastructure, 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities, and 13 - Climate Action. The project goals are also well aligned with Vegagerðin´s strategy for 2020-2025 (Vegagerðin, 2019) and environmental policy (Vegagerðin, 2021). Firstly, the results of the project will contribute to information and knowledge (Upplýsingar og þekking) about regenerative materials in infrastructure system development in Iceland as alternative options to asphalt and concrete to reach the goal of zero emission or carbon negative-built environment. Considering the literature gap mentioned, this study will be of high academic relevance internationally. The results will also be used for teaching at Háskóli Íslands. Secondly, knowledge from the project could contribute to the integration and development of sustainable road infrastructure construction which can reduce pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which aligns with Vegagerðin’s statutory role in terms of environmental goals.