Brazil Getting Ready to Make Stronger and Cheaper Concrete with Bagasse

    Concrete made with bagasse

    Concrete made with bagasse Last week a team of Brazilian researchers from the University of São Carlos revealed some of their initial and positive findings on the use of sugarcane bagasse for the production of concrete. The basis of the potential construction material would be to substitute sand with ash from burning bagasse in two stages.

    Firstly, to essentially sift through the matter so as to remove sugarcane that was not burned and, secondly, undertake a process of grinding so that the grains are a comparable size to sand used in the manufacture of concrete.

    According to researchers, a mixture of sand and between 30 and 50 percent of bagasse makes concrete 17 percent stronger than compared to what is currently standard in Brazil – this is largely due to the high crystalline and silica content. According to head researcher, Almir Sales: “the advantage is also due to the compressed properties of the bagasse ash which, due to the fact that is more uniform, fills better than natural sand.”

    The potential of the material is argued to be able to make a huge impact on the supply of cement in Brazil. Indeed, despite the Votorantim group (the largest cement producer in Brazil) announcing the construction of 8 new plants, the company were still seen importing 300,000 tons of waste from Vietnam as reserves earlier this year.

    The added advantage of using this material is the fact that Brazil already has a well established and growing sugarcane ethanol industry. As mentioned by Clovis Lemes in our previous interview, the stem of the sugarcane fibers were formally disposed as waste until detailed research proved that it can be used in the generation of electricity (and now other uses) via burning.

    The team’s research points out that this places a significant advantage on the environment – particularly as the removal of sand from riverbeds continues to be criticized from a sustainability perspective.

    The researchers are currently undergoing the testing of the durability of concrete involving placing the material in a chamber that accelerates its weathering for periods of up to 12 months of which the “preliminary results are encouraging,” according to Sales. Following this process will be a series of various environmental impact testing procedures which are expected to be completed by May 2011.

    The group plan to initially launch the projects on a smaller scale – such as in the manufacture of curbs and sluice gates – which will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the material upon which further investment from private companies, suppliers and constructors will be sought.

    Sales estimates are indicating that the bagasse concrete would be able to be sold at between 10 and 12 percent cheaper than standard products, due to the low cost of ash from sugarcane and the declining availability of concrete in its current form.

    Almir Sales and his team are also researching into other construction materials – such as the discovery of a compound that can replace gravel in concrete using wood sawdust and sludge from water treatment plants which, it is argued, makes the concrete 30 percent lighter with lower thermal conductivity.

    Ruban Selvanayagam is a Brazil real estate and land specialist. For free e-books, state guides, up-to-date statistics, strategies, interviews, articles, weekly broadcasts and more head to the Brazil Real Estate and Land Investment Guide via the following link:


    • Show Comments (0)

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    comment *

    • name *

    • email *

    • website *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    You May Also Like

    InBev's Carlos Brito

    10 Brazilians Make the List of Latin America’s 25 Global Star Entrepreneurs

    The CEO of AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, Brazilian Carlos Brito,  is among ...

    Brazil and Argentina Join Forces in Science

    Brazil’s Minister of Science and Technology, Eduardo Campos and his Argentinean counterpart, Daniel Filmus, ...


    It’s important to note that by and large, Brazilians weren’t exactly enthralled by their ...

    Brazil’s Vice-President Undergoes Angioplasty. All Is Well.

    Brazil’s Vice-President of the Republic and Minister of Defense, José Alencar, underwent a heart stint ...

    Best-seller books, plays & movies

    PLAYS Casa de Prostituição de Anaïs Nin – Based on Anaïs Nin’s erotic short ...

    Death of a Tragic Jumper

    "What saddens me most is the way we forgot João and so many other ...

    College students in Brazil

    The Story of Higher Education in Brazil: Too Many Openings, Too Few Good Schools

    Instead of the consumption of classes, education is a process of knowledge accumulation. But ...

    Brazilian Industry Says Disappointing Cut in Interests Brought Bitter Christmas

    The Brazilian Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (Copom) has lowered the country’s key interest ...

    The Brazilian real

    Brazil Hikes Key Interest Rates to 12% in Attempt to Halt Over 6% Inflation

    In a decision that surprised the market, which expecting a bigger hike, Brazil’s central ...

    Tam Airlines

    Despite Strong Real Foreigners Are Buying More Brazilian Companies

    The share of foreign capital in mergers and acquisitions in Brazil has increased in ...