Home Green Design Concrete, Wood Maker Join to Develop New Hybrid Element

Concrete, Wood Maker Join to Develop New Hybrid Element


STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN—Swedish concrete manufacturer Heidelberg Materials Precast Contiga and Finnish producer of engineered wood products Metsä Wood, have initiated a cross-industry collaboration to capitalize on the benefits of combining concrete and wood in future building structures. The ambition 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 percent lower climate impact.

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. This means reducing raw materials throughout the value chain, making sure that we are using the right materials in the right place and developing 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 soon,” says Daniel Eriksson, Division Manager, Heidelberg Materials Precast Contiga, Norrtälje.

Test Building Will be Constructed

At the production facility in Norrtälje, a prototype of the hybrid element has been developed and smaller hybrid elements have been 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. 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,” says Jussi Björman, Director, Business Director, Construction at Metsä Wood.

The collaboration agreement between Heidelberg Materials Precast Contiga and Metsä Wood means that the companies are now starting joint development work of a competitive hybrid element. A product is expected to be available on the Swedish market within a few years and may eventually also be of interest to nearby markets.