Pathways to Net Zero Concrete

Concrete is the cornerstone of Australia’s built environment. With about 70 million tonnes of premixed concrete produced every year (CCAA, 2022), it is the most widely used building material in the country. Yet, concrete – due to its raw material acquisition, processing, transport, and recycling – contributes a significant share to Australia’s CO2 emissions.

Through innovation collaboration across three research programs, SmartCrete CRC creates pathways to design, develop and commercialise innovative materials, technologies and processes that accelerate Australia’s transition to net zero concrete.

Sustainable Concrete

Designing and developing new, sustainable concrete mixes and products that meet industry standards and requirements

Australia’s cement and concrete industry has long been focused on reducing its environmental impact and, since 2000, Australian manufacturers and suppliers have steadily reduced CO2 emissions by 25%. Yet, the challenge of decarbonising and meeting Australia’s net zero goals by 2050 will require further research and innovation into low carbon materials such as new clinker content, alternative binders and cement formulations.

SmartCrete’s Sustainable Concrete program brings together material experts from industry, research and the wider construction and building sector to design, develop and test sustainable materials – new and recycled – to be used in wide range of concrete applications.

The program focuses on

  • Circular economy – integrating waste and greener materials into concrete mixes to lower their long-term environmental impact
  • Supply chain optimisation and quantification – identifying market opportunities for alternative materials to lift supply constrains
  • Decarbonisation – reducing the overall carbon footprint of concrete by developing and trialling low carbon alternative products as well as investigating natural processes such as carbonisation to capture and remove CO2 from the atmosphere


The Sustainable Concrete program will improve business confidence in the supply chain, lower cost, viable repurposed materials from the waste streams and lower Co2 emissions.

Engineered Solutions

Engineering new solutions that improve the durability, longevity and sustainability of concrete buildings and infrastructure

Buildings. Bridges. Roads. Dams. Concrete underpins every aspect of Australia’s economy and modern way of life. Economic and population growth – Australia’s building stock is estimated to double by 2050 – and the implications of climate change are posing significant challenges for the built environment, in general, and the application of concrete, in particular.

SmartCrete’s Engineered Solutions program taps into Australia’s concrete and engineering expertise – investing in industry-research collaboration that improve the cost, applications and durability of concrete – to safeguard and future-proof Australia’s concrete buildings and infrastructure.

The program focuses on

  • Material properties – investigating strength, modulus and durability properties to determine the long-term viability of new and existing concrete structures
  • Construction and maintenance processes – stimulating the adoption of new materials and innovative technologies such as 3D concrete printing by offering guidance around material selection, performance criteria (e.g. noise, insulation, weather resistance) and quality control
  • Certification and standards – accelerating the evaluation and development of standards to provide industry with common definitions and frameworks that help drive the uptake of sustainable concrete



The Engineered Solutions program will reduce the cost of concrete and labour through improved formulations, construction methods, supply chain logistics, skills, capabilities and competition in procurement.

Asset Management

Developing new technologies and procedures to enhance the use and longevity of concrete assets

Australia is a land of extremes with temperatures ranging from above 40°C in the centre to below freezing in parts of the country’s southeast. And with 85% of the population living and working along the coastline, most concrete buildings and infrastructure are exposed to harsh and variable weather conditions that impact their lifespan. In addition, different industrial applications pose corrosion challenges that accelerate the degradation of concrete structures.

SmartCrete’s Asset Management program connects asset owners and managers operating and maintaining concrete infrastructure with experts from different research disciplines to develop innovative, technology-focused solutions to mitigate concrete degradation and protect and maintain the health of Australia’s infrastructure.

The program focuses on

  • Sensor development – developing ‘fit-for-purpose’ sensors and software solutions to monitor and evaluate the performance of concrete structures in different applications
  • Sensor integration and data analytics – delivering integrated sensor applications that enable smart data collection and analysis to support asset maintenance across multiple sites
  • Predictive modelling – using AI and machine learning technology to forecast and warn of potential risks associated with concrete deterioration and hence enable preventative actions to prolong the life of concrete



The Asset Management program will improve the lifecycle of concrete buildings and infrastructure, by taking a whole-of-life approach and using real time data to reduce risk and maintenance costs.