Can a construction material be created out of Sugarcane? | Sugarcrete | SURFACES REPORTER New Material Update

Experts have derived a new material called Sugarcrete® which is composed of Bagasse- a byproduct of sugarcane. This can be a sustainable and cheaper alternative to the traditional bricks. A report by SURFACES REPORTER.

What is Sugarcrete®?

Sugarcrete® is a material that combines sugarcane fibres left over after sugar production, with sand-mineral binders to produce bricks that have a carbon footprint six times smaller than traditionally made clay bricks.

These bricks provide a low-carbon alternative to bricks and concrete blockwork. Being developed by University of East London (UEL), this project is a collaboration between the UEL MArch Architecture programme and the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) with the support of  Tate & Lyle Sugars.

Why this could be a great alternative to traditional construction practices?

Sugarcane is world's largest crop by production volume. According to the researchers, "The processing of sugarcane to produce sugar, generates enough raw material to partially replace high energy-demanding construction systems such as concrete or brick. Sugarcane growth provides one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion mediums available, up to 50 times more efficient than forestry."

Research developed at UEL demonstrates how this residue stream can provide a sustainable construction material. The new Sugarcrete®? material, prototyped using the Sustainability Research Institute’s advance Laboratory, presents high-quality mechanical, acoustic, fire and thermal properties, and has been tested to industry standards for fire resistance (ISO 1716:2021), compressive strength (ASTM C39), thermal conductivity (Hot-Box method) and durability (BS EN 927-6).The testing has shown promising results for Sugarcrete®? to be used as insulation panels, lightweight blocks, load bearing blockwork and structural floor and roof slabs.

How will it benefit the local economy as well as ensure sustainability?

According to the UIL, "Sugarcrete® research will benefit local manufacturers in the global south where construction materials are frequently imported, environmentally poor performing, high cost and high carbon minimises transportation costs. Local producers can make radically new, affordable and ultra-low carbon ‘vernacular’ building materials that can create new income streams via export to the global North."

The qualities of Sugarcrete have garnered recognition as it was nominated for the Earthshot Prize–an award celebrating outstanding sustainability projects worldwide. This prize considers five categories featuring the top sustainability efforts.

No patents to provide 'Open Access' for all

Sugarcrete is not yet patented. UEL says that, "It is purposely ‘open access’ in order to establish partnerships to produce new bio-waste-based construction materials where sugar cane is grown, and benefit is greatest."

(with inputs from


Post Your Comment

"Content that powers your Business. News that keeps you informed."

Surfaces Reporter is one of India's leading media in Print & Digital Telecast for News on Interiors & Architecture Projects, Products, Building Materials, and the Business of Design! Since 2011, it serves as a referral for designers & architects to know about inspiring projects and source new products. If you have a Product or Project worth publishing in Surfaces Reporter, please email us or you can also submit your project online.

Like Surfaces Reporter on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram | Subscribe to our magazine | Sign Up for the FREE Surfaces Reporter Magazine Newsletter

Could Hop be the Next Eco-friendly Construction Material? SR New Building Material Update

The material is eco-friendly and made from agricultural waste. The fibrous nature of the hop plant imparts tensile strength to the material, making it particularly well-suited for acoustic panels, insulation, and structural boards.

Read more

Grimshaw and UEL Develop Biomaterial Construction Block Made from Bagasse | Sugarcrete

Grimshaw, an architecture studio, partnered with the University of East London to create Sugarcrete, a biomaterial construction block made from bagasse, a by-product of sugarcane.

Read more

Designer Repurposes Discarded Avocado Seeds into Construction Material | Avocado Seed Brick

Pombo’s personal project, Fragmentario, began while she was working as a fashion designer. Initially a small project, it grew in scope and became her full-time focus.

Read more

Get a Glimpse of Hawaiian Red Sugarcane’s uniquely Textured Curls on this Building’s Facade | Koula Tower

Studio Gang, a Chicago-based architecture studio, recently completed the residential tower Koula in Hawaii with a heaving facade that draws inspiration from its local ecology. Koula, meaning red sugarcane in native Hawaiian, is a local plant that has a twisting structure.

Read more

This is alt