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Sustainable construction in low and middle income countries

TNO contributes to making cities and communities inclusive, resilient and sustainable through innovation in the building and construction industry. Our ambition is to reach 50.000 households in low and middle income countries with sustainable and affordable construction materials and housing. This impact contributes to SDG 11 and 12 - technical assistance to strengthen low income countries’ scientific, technological and innovative capacities to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

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If you see opportunities to collaborate with us in the field of construction materials and building materials in low and middle income countries

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By 2030, 3 billion people will need access to adequate housing globally. This translates into a demand for 96,000 new affordable and accessible housing units every day (UN Habitat). Current housing challenges are the availability or resources for construction materials, the environmental burden of the industrial activities, the logistics and cost.

Our core areas of work

With our disrupting technology, including industrialisation, new materials and the digitalisation of products and processes we will shape future dynamics in the industry. 

Alternative binder technology for optimising concrete, bricks and blocks in housing

Cement is one of the most polluting and expensive materials currently used in the global construction industry. With our patented technology we develop alternative binders based on local (secondary) resources anywhere in the world. Our goal is to reduce the CO2 footprint as well as cost price of stony materials like concrete, bricks and blocks, while increasing the structural features and overall quality.

For example: in Malawi and Senegal we substitute expensive cement by local waste materials. With our local partners we develop new recipes in which firing is replaced by cold manufacturing procedures. These strong, red ‘cool bricks’ will decrease deforestation, boost the sustainable brick sector and will create employment for most vulnerable groups.

Sustainable industrialisation through new production technology

With our integrated approach including building systems, materials, production technology and project management, TNO can help construction companies to optimize modularization, off-site production automation, and on-site assembly automation. The shift toward a more controlled environment will benefit the quality, speed and sustainability of affordable housing. For example: in Ghana we are currently investigating how industrialization can benefit the production of 40.000 affordable houses for a sustainable and green new town near Accra.

TNO innovates in close collaboration with Dutch and local partners. TNO acts as knowledge partner in public-private partnerships and we develop new products, tools and approaches. In close collaborations with partners in the field we implement integrated sets of solutions. Our main partners are GiZ, RVO, Oskam ltd, LEVS Architects, Terrastone in Malawi and Elementerre in Senegal. 

News

Cementless, 100% locally made blocks for energy efficient housing

16 September 2020
The biggest obstacle in scaling Compressed Earth Blocks for housing is the price and environmental effect of cement which needs to be used as a binder. 5-7% of the block is cement, responsible for 50%... Read more
News

First test in Malawi with innovative ceramic bricks to combat deforestation

25 February 2020
The market demand for construction materials is tremendous in developing countries due to a growing population. TNO works together with Terrastone in Malawi to introduce strong, environmental friendly... Read more
News

License agreement on innovative cool bricks in Malawi

05 July 2019
TNO and Terrastone ltd – a major construction firm in Malawi – signed a license agreement to kick off the production of cold ceramic bricks. TNO developed these strong, red ‘cool bricks’, which can be... Read more
TNO Insights

Baking energy efficient bricks

19 December 2014
Bricks are normally baked in ovens at a temperature that can gradually rise to 1100 °C. Unmistakably a process that uses a lot of energy. But it can be made more energy efficient. Read more
TNO Insights

Cold ceramic bricks do have potential in Malawi

03 April 2019
All households in Malawi prefer a brick house, so the market demand for clay bricks is huge. Traditional brick making is done with clamps using fire wood. This causes deforestation and high carbon emissions.... Read more
Expertise

Structural Reliability

We know how to add innovation in the design, development and maintenance of durable and safe structures due to our broad knowledge on risk analysis, dynamics, structural and physical behaviour of concrete,... Read more
General

Innovation for development

TNO's Innovation for Development (I4D) program innovates in low- and middle income countries with the aim to improve the lives of 2 billion people living below poverty level (World Bank, 2021). In close... Read more
Innovation for development
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