The University of Greenwich and Carbon8 Systems, a university spin-out company, received the prestigious Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology for their development of accelerated carbonated technology.

The accelerated carbonated technology process converts contaminated land and industrial waste into aggregate which can be used as construction material. The chemical process involved uses significant volumes of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming. The process also has the potential to help dispose of radioactive waste.

The first commercial plant was commissioned in Suffolk in 2012, following a significant investment from Grundon Waste Management through an equity stake in new company Carbon8 Aggregates.

The new company has a licence for the manufacture of aggregate from air pollution control residues from energy-from-waste-plants, granted by Carbon8 Systems. The aggregate produced is used in the production of concrete blocks, directly reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.

A second line was added to the plant in 2014 to meet increasing demand. In 2015, a second Carbon8 Aggregates plant was approved for construction at Avondale near Bristol.

Dr Colin Hills, who led the research project at the University of Greenwich, says: “It is a privilege to make a discovery in the laboratory, realise its potential and see it become a commercial reality. Apart from giving value to waste and helping preserve landfill space, the carbonated aggregates made in Suffolk replace virgin stone, helping to protect one of our valuable natural resources.”