Metsä Wood collaborates with concrete manufacturer to produce low-carbon concrete-wood hybrid element

A prototype of the concrete-wood hybrid element (Image: Heidelberg Materials Precast Contiga)

Swedish concrete manufacturer Heidelberg Materials Precast Contiga and Finnish producer of engineered wood products Metsä Wood have initiated a cross-industry collaboration to capitalise on the benefits of combining concrete and wood in future building structures.

According to Metsä Wood, the aim of this collaboration is to jointly develop and launch a hybrid element with a low carbon footprint.

The collaboration involves starting the development of a new hybrid element that is constructed with both concrete and wood as constituent building material.

The result, when combining climate-improved concrete with wood, is a new type of building element with high strength and durability as well as lower weight and carbon footprint. The hybrid element will have an estimated 70% lower climate impact, compared to traditional materials.

The hybrid element is a so-called sandwich element that will be well suited to facade walls with high resistance to weather and wind.

It is constructed with Metsä Wood’s Kerto LVL Q-panel as a load-bearing core panel and with an external panel of Heidelberg Materials climate-improved concrete.

“The entire construction industry is undergoing a transformation, and while the transition to climate-neutral concrete in 2030 is in full swing, we are working on several other valuable initiatives to reduce the climate footprint of construction materials,” said Daniel Eriksson, division manager of Heidelberg Materials Precast Contiga, Norrtälje.

“This means reducing raw materials throughout the value chain, make sure that we are using the right materials in the right place and develop new products. The collaboration with Metsä Wood is part of this strategy and hybrid elements will become a valuable addition to our existing product portfolio of precast concrete and steel in the near future.”

At the production facility in Norrtälje, a prototype of the hybrid element has been developed and smaller hybrid elements have been test cast to verify the manufacturing technology.

The next step during the year is to construct a realistic test building to evaluate different designs and how the hybrid element is responding when exposed to moisture and various forces.

“By developing a hybrid element, we want to see how the different technical properties of wood and concrete can work together to support each other in building structures,” said Jussi Björman, business director of Construction at Metsä Wood.

“Our joint development work is a step forward to find new ways for the construction industry to continue building in a sustainable way and with an even lower climate footprint.”