Composite Bridges

January 2, 2014

Bridge materials have taken another quantum leap into the future. Amazingly, an estimated 7% of global CO2 emissions come from the making and use of concrete. Scientists in the Netherlands have proven that vast energy savings are possible if bridges are made of lightweight glass-fiber-reinforced composite resin instead of concrete or steel. Building a small 12-meter long traffic bridge using composite material instead of concrete would save 1300 gigajoules, and compared to a steel bridge the energy saved would even be 2700 gigajoules. This is a massive improvement, making resin 3-5 times more energy-efficient than conventional materials.

To put this into context: if Amsterdam, the Venice of Holland, were to use composite resin rather than other materials when replacing its 2000 bridges, the energy saving would be equivalent to the total annual energy bill of 310,000 households.

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