In English | ISSUE 4/2023

Preface: Shall we peek on the other side of the coin for a change?

Preface: Shall we peek on the other side of the coin for a change?

The use of concrete is brought up when discussing the most significant contributors to climate change. Rarely do we see anyone talking about the role of concrete in the fight against climate change.

The key to curbing climate change is the wide transition of communities and industries to lowemission energy sources.

We are moving towards decarbonised energy also in Finland through electrification. Fossil energy sources are replaced with what is referred to as green electricity and which can be further used to produce also low-emission fuels by means of P2X technologies.

How to produce low-emission green electricity? The solution can be found in concrete, as it allows the production of green energy with scalable methods, i.e., by constructing and maintaining hydropower, wind power and nuclear power plants.

An example of the crucial role of concrete in nuclear power plant construction is Olkiluoto 3 where concrete accounts for up to one third of the unit’s total volume.

The dams of hydropower plants are huge concrete structures. Continuous concrete construction is needed to maintain the existing dams in top condition.

The most recent application of concrete in decarbonised energy production are wind power plants. A modern wind turbine tower is kept upright by the weight of its foundation with about 1,000 cubic metres of concrete.

Mine tunnels also need to be reinforced with massive concrete structures to facilitate the safe and efficient recovery of the valuable ore.

These examples clearly show that concrete and concrete construction play a key part in the mitigation of climate change. When we at the same time focus efforts on reducing emissions from concrete construction, concrete has a much bigger role in curbing climate change than in causing it.

Jussi Mattila, Managing Director, Association of Concrete Industry in Finland