Key Pathways To Net Zero For Australian Cement And Concrete Identified

A new independent report titled ‘Decarbonisation Pathways for the Australian Cement and Concrete Sector’ released today confirms the Australian industry’s ambition of net zero carbon cement and concrete to Australian society by 2050 is achievable.

Click here to download the full Media Release (PDF)

VDZ was recently commissioned, based on its international research credentials, to undertake this study to better understand the technologies and practices necessary to decarbonise Australian cement and concrete.¹²

In early October 2021, the Australian cement and concrete industry declared its ambition to deliver net zero carbon cement and concrete by 2050, and the VDZ report demonstrates this outcome can be achieved with the assistance of the full value chain.

The VDZ report notes “The Australian cement and concrete sector has a long history of reducing its CO2 emissions having delivered a 25 per cent reduction since 2000. However, the challenge of decarbonising by 2050 will require significant regulatory, structural and behavioural changes across all segments of the cement and concrete value chain.”

The ability to deliver lower carbon cement and concrete will require significant financial investment to research, pilot and adopt a range of technologies.

“It will also require a transition to a ‘market pull’ environment through leadership in government and private sector procurement policies and changes in regulation to safely promote the uptake of lower carbon products” according to the VDZ report.

The Australian cement and concrete sector understands the long term economic and societal benefits of harnessing the eight identified decarbonisation pathways and key future research requirements identified in the report. These are:

  • Zero emission electricity and transport
  • Innovation through design and construction
  • Further innovation in concrete
  • Increased use of supplementary cementitious materials in concrete
  • New CO2 efficient cements
  • Alternative fuels and green hydrogen
  • Accounting for concrete to uptake CO2 (recarbonation)
  • Capture remaining CO2 (CCUS)

 The sector realises the challenge ahead will require significant financial investment and policy change to support the transition. However, the VDZ Report released today demonstrates that the transition is possible. 

As a trade exposed sector, a fundamental requirement will be that the transition does not lead to undermining the competitiveness of the Australian cement and concrete manufacturing base. 

The Australian cement and concrete sector is now developing engagement plans based on the identified pathways to implement the key recommendations of the report and are committed to reviewing progress on a regular basis. 

Click here to download the full Media Release (PDF)

 Media enquiries: 

Margie Thomson
Chief Executive, Cement Industry Federation
M: 0418 290 058 

Ken Slattery
Chief Executive, Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Australia
M: 0417 497 559 

Warren South
Chief Executive, SmartCrete CRC
M: 0427 169899 


 1. VDZ is a world-renowned research centre, providing practical and quality-oriented joint research and services in the field of cement and concrete. 

2. Financial and in-kind contributions have been provided by the Cement Industry Federation, Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Australia, SmartCrete CRC and the RACE for 2030 CRC.  

Working Smarter with the turnKey CRC application

SmartCrete CRC is one of the smallest Collaborative Research Centres awarded grant funding in the last five CRC rounds and is run by a small staff of eight full and part time employees.

Two of the keys to efficiency and productivity success for the SmartCrete CRC are the application of turnKey CRC Project Reporting software and the enabling of project leads to input and manage their projects online.

Click here to download the full Media Release (PDF)

Project Efficiency

Initially developed by Autism CRC, the turnKey application has been further enhanced by the SmartCrete CRC team to provide an end-to-end project management systems that allows project leads to manage the entire project lifecycle from project proposal, evaluation, approval and execution, to progress reporting and project milestone tracking. Additional features allow for project budget management, automated reporting against the Commonwealth milestones and project specific summary dashboards.

Research Office Portfolio Management

For our Academic partners turnKey provides a simple method for the Research Office (RO) to oversee their portfolio of projects against their budgets, project portfolio objectives and staffing allocations through dashboards that leverage powerful data visualistion tools.

Effective Relationship and Communication Management

turnKey is built on Salesforce’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform and allows SmartCrete CRC to establish multi-level contacts through partner organisations based on their involvement in projects and decision making.

This functionality allows SmartCrete to maintain effective communications with partner organisations through an integrated marketing plan that allows the use of email for CRC updates, project outcomes, shared learnings and important key dates.

Click here to download the full Media Release (PDF)

New Appointments at SmartCrete CRC

Since establishment in June 2020, SmartCrete CRC has worked to promote scientific and engineering research for Australia’s concrete industry, including developments within the concrete supply chain and associated industries.

Click here to download the full Media Release (PDF)

We are proud to announce the appointment of two new staff members, vital to the realisation of our vision to fully develop integrated product development and systems capability.

Professor Vute Sirivivatnanon has joined SmartCrete CRC as Research Director. Dr Sirivivatnanon is well known to the cement and concrete industry working for major industry research institutions such as CSIRO and Cement, Concrete and Aggregates. More recently, he is currently the Professor for Concrete Engineering at the University of Technology, Sydney. He will strengthen our research strategy ensuring the realisation of strong, relevant research.

Mr Alan Leow will also join SmartCrete CRC as Commercialisation Manager. Alan has also extensive experience in the construction industry, having worked with Boral in Asia and most recently in the precast concrete industry in Western Australia with BGC Precast. Alan will be responsible for developing our intellectual property and commercialisation strategy.

Dr Warren South, CEO of SmartCrete CRC welcomed this injection of expertise:

“SmartCrete CRC welcomes Vute and Alan to our team. Their expertise and familiarity with the concrete construction industry issues and challenges will strengthen our ability to deliver a strong and relevant research and commercialisation portfolio”


Click here to download the full Media Release (PDF)

For further information please contact:

Dr Warren South
Chief Executive Officer
SmartCrete CRC

SmartCrete CRC at Concrete 2021 conference

SmartCrete CRC will be hosting a conference session at the upcoming Concrete Institute of Australia’s Biennial National Conference, Concrete 2021 on 7 September 2021 from 3.45 pm to 5.00 pm. This year, due to CoVID restrictions, the conference is being held virtually from 5-8 September allowing a greater number of delegates to attend from the comfort of home.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

The SmartCrete CRC session will include a presentation on the organisation’s progress by the CEO, Dr Warren South, three presentations by representatives of industry and academic partners of the CRC, and a facilitated discussion answering your questions on SmartCrete CRC and to allow the organisation to harvest ideas informing SmartCrete CRC’s research portfolio.

Dr Warren South, CEO of SmartCrete CRC commented:

“SmartCrete CRC welcomes this opportunity to engage with its stakeholders through the largest concrete conference in Australia. We look forward to discussing our progress in a busy first year as well as hearing the issues and opportunities from the concrete community”

SmartCrete CRC is actively operating with the goal to ensure the long-term viability of vital existing and future concrete infrastructure through improvement in cost, application, and sustainability. The organisation achieves this by facilitating connections between industry and academia to generate research projects then funding those projects to realise the value of this research to the Australian concrete eco-system.

SmartCrete CRC does this by providing contacts, connections, and funding for successful research projects to address the various issues and challenges for concrete, especially in its application in infrastructure.

Registration for the conference is still open at https://ciaconference.com.au/registration/

For further information please contact:

Dr Warren South
Chief Executive Officer
SmartCrete CRC

SmartCrete CRC Welcomes Paintback Limited as Core Partner

Since establishment in June 2020, SmartCrete CRC has worked to promote scientific and engineering research forging the way for Australia’s concrete industry, including developments within the concrete supply chain and associated industries and today we are delighted to announce Paintback Limited as a new core partner to SmartCrete CRC.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

Dr Warren South, CEO of SmartCrete CRC welcomes the partnership.

SmartCrete CRC is pleased to welcome Paintback Limited as a core partner organisation. Partners such as Paintback will assist us in developing our research portfolio to inform the future sustainability of concrete infrastructure.

Paintback’s ambition is to create a stronger circular economy for the materials it collects and lay the groundwork for developing new markets.

Paint already plays a role in circular economic outcomes through preserving and refurbishing infrastructure. Paintback is exploring how it can extend that through putting unwanted paint into new uses.

From trialling recovered paint products in pedestrian footpaths to research testing paint components as new additions to concrete, the national paint recovery scheme Paintback and alliances of Australian scientists and engineers are on the hunt for new ways to extend the circular economy for paint.

“Australians buy more than 100 million litres of paint every year. About 5 per cent of that is surplus to requirements and needs a safe disposal path. The SmartCrete partnership will help harness innovation to create more sustainable infrastructure while extending the life of unwanted paint” says Karen Gomez, Paintback’s chief executive.”


Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

For further information please contact:

Dr Warren South
Chief Executive Officer
SmartCrete CRC
Email: warren.south@smartcretecrc.com.au

SmartCrete CRC engaging with Industry to further advance Sustainability goals.

The SmartCrete CRC is actively operating with the goal to ensure the long-term viability of vital existing and future concrete infrastructure through improvement in cost, application, and sustainability.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

SmartCrete CRC does this by providing contacts, connections, and funding for successful research projects to address the various issues and challenges for concrete, especially in its application in infrastructure.

As part of our major research pipeline, SmartCrete CRC is delighted to announce we are funding work currently underway to identify potential pathways for further reducing carbon emissions across the Australian cement and concrete industry.

SmartCrete CRC is proud to be a funding partner in this important sphere and looks forward to sharing more about this work in the coming months. We are particularly excited about the opportunity the project presents to further engage with our partners and connections across the research and academic community.

SmartCrete CRC CEO Dr Warren South said this work is perfectly aligned with the goal of the organization and the commitment to supporting the long-term vitality of existing and future concrete infrastructure.

“As a Co-operative Research Centre, we are delighted to be working with the Cement & Concrete industry in the area of sustainability and are particularly excited about seeing our project funding directed to further research on such a vital aspect of Concrete as a construction material.”

For further information please contact:

Dr Warren South
Chief Executive Officer
SmartCrete CRC
Email: warren.south@smartcretecrc.com.au

SmartCrete CRC project funding announced

SmartCrete CRC is delighted to announce the funding of the inaugural project “Recycled Waste in Concrete for Municipal Applications” in collaboration with industry and research partners OPV (Office of Projects Victoria) and RMIT University.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

Since establishment in June 2020, SmartCrete CRC has worked to promote scientific and engineering research for Australia’s concrete industry, including developments within the concrete supply chain and associated industries.

All SmartCrete CRC projects are driven by the needs of industry partners and the end-users with whom they engage.

This project covers a range of areas and will investigate and implement new applications of domestic and industrial waste materials (plastics, rubber, crusher dust, industrial by-products) in the concrete construction industry. It will provide long term environmental and economic benefits to key stakeholders – supply-chain, government, and asset owners.

The project is a strategic response to the demand-supply imbalance in the Victorian infrastructure and waste recovery sector with a primary focus on councils and local municipalities.

Concrete production in Victoria relies on aggregate and cement sourced from natural and finite sand and rock deposits. With the availability of these materials declining, alternative sources of sands and aggregates are urgently required to meet forecasted consumption.

Dr Warren South, CEO of SmartCrete CRC commends the funding.

“We are proud to be funding a project that is the first to “turn the sod” on practical research under the SmartCrete CRC brand and delivers value to both concrete infrastructure and the Australian community”.

Professor Rebecca Gravina RMIT University said:

“Finding new uses for our waste is a vital part of the transition to a circular economy. We hope this exciting collaboration will have a lasting impact, by bringing leading-edge materials technologies for concrete construction to address the performance requirements needed by our industry partners.”

Cressida Wall, Chief Executive, Office of Projects Victoria (OPV) said:

“OPV is pleased to support and promote innovation and excellence in construction which is why we are backing this important project. Recycled waste is an untapped resource and its successful application in municipal infrastructure offers a potential game-changing solution.”

The project represents the first to be funded by the Commonwealth, industry and research partners to deliver on the organisation’s goal of guaranteeing the long-term viability of concrete infrastructure in Australia.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

For further information please contact:

Dr Warren South
Chief Executive Officer
SmartCrete CRC
Email: warren.south@smartcretecrc.com.au

SmartCrete CRC announces 8 projects endorsed for funding

SmartCrete CRC is proud to announce 8 projects have been conditionally endorsed for funding following the SmartCrete CRC Board meeting held Thursday, 17 June 2021.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

Conditions are required to be met before the projects can be approved for funding and the SmartCrete CRC team are working to assist project partners with meeting these requirements. The Board meeting also accepted revisions to the Project Funding Guidelines with modifications to be communicated in due course.

The 8 projects will run up to four years and involve industry partners with support by our research providers. The program represents a cash investment of almost $5.2 million of Commonwealth funds by the CRC and partner contributions.

Project Partners include: Ash Development Association of Australia (ADAA), Australasian Slag Association, Australasian Pozzolan Association, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Macquarie University, Paintback, Hawks Excavation (VIC) Pty Ltd, Stretford Civil Constructions Pty Ltd, Transport for NSW (TfNSW), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), University of Newcastle (UoN), Holcim (Australia) Pty Ltd, Curtin University, Australian Engineered Fasteners and Anchors Council (AEFAC), Swinburne University of Technology (SUT).

This is an exciting step in the development of industry led solutions for Australian concrete infrastructure.”
Dr Warren South, CEO
SmartCrete CRC.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

For further information please contact:

Dr Warren South
Chief Executive Officer
SmartCrete CRC
Email: warren.south@smartcretecrc.com.au

Concrete Institute of Australia – Weekly Webinar Series

SmartCrete CRC was proud to be showcased as part of the Concrete Institute of Australia’s weekly webinar series on 11 March. The webinar was led by CEO, Dr Warren South, who was joined by Professor Rebecca Gravina of RMIT and Professor Simon Clark of Macquarie University.  

We looked at 3 projects that have been given the “green light” by the government and how these will in fact advance the cement and concrete industry including Recycled Material Concrete Production presented by Professor Rebecca Gravina.

Presentations can be viewed here:

Presentation 1 (pdf)
Presentation 2 (pdf)
Presentation 3 (pdf)

If you would like to watch the full webinar on the Concrete Institute of Australia’s website please click here.

Fast Track projects announced

SmartCrete CRC is proud to announce the funding of three projects submitted under its Fast Track program.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)

Since establishment in June 2020, SmartCrete CRC has worked to promote scientific and engineering research for Australia’s concrete industry, including developments within the concrete supply chain and associated industries.

The new projects will run for up to the next 3 years and are spread across two of the three SmartCrete CRC research program streams, involving collaboration with our partner organisations. All SmartCrete CRC Fast Track projects are driven by the needs of industry partners and the end-users with whom they engage.

The projects cover a range of areas, including research into the following:

  1. Wastewater Pipeline Sensing System: Innovative and economical photonic sensor interrogation. Read more here
  2. Recycled Material Concrete Production: Recycled Waste in Concrete for Municipal Applications. Read more here
  3. Concrete Corrosion Tracking and Prediction: Cost-effective, deployable photonic sensor system. Read more here

The funding for the projects range from $500,000 and $1 million each.

These three projects represent the first of many to be funded by the Commonwealth, industry and research partners to deliver on the organisation’s goal of guaranteeing the long term viability of concrete infrastructure in Australia.

Industry , government and research partners include: Sydney Water, Melbourne Water, EngAnalysis, City of Ryde, OPV (Office of Projects Victoria), City of Whitehorse (Victoria), Macquarie University, Latrobe University, University of Technology Sydney, and RMIT.

Now that these are funded we are working through our portfolio of 34 active proposals to continue to develop industry led solutions for Australian concrete infrastructure.

Click here to read the full Media Release (PDF)