Vandersanden

Vandersanden launches Pirrouet® in the UK – the first CO2-negative facing brick

  • 14 Jun 2024

Brick manufacturer Vandersanden is launching the very first CO2-negative facing brick on the market under the name Pirrouet®.

One tonne of Pirrouet® facing bricks absorbs up to 60 kg of CO2 during the curing process and throughout its lifespan. This breakthrough is due to a unique industrial application of carbonation technology. In addition, only 20% of the Pirrouet® brick consists of primary raw materials – the rest comes from residual flows from the steel industry.

With this first in the construction industry, Vandersanden is ensuring that attractive facades can contribute to a smaller environmental footprint.

Darren White, UK Sales Director, Vandersanden, comments: “Vandersanden wants to be completely CO2 neutral by 2050. With this CO2-negative facing brick, this intended reality comes a big step closer.”

The brick is unique because it is not fired but cured using CO2 from other industries. During the carbonation process, the CO2 reacts with calcium-containing materials, creating carbonates. This permanent bond creates a hard, limestone-like brick that meets the European standard for ceramic facing bricks. It is the first time a facing brick has been produced in this way.

Vandersanden

Circular product

The Pirrouet® brick is largely a circular product. It consists of as much as 80% mineral residues (carbinox and stinox) from the steel industry. These residual flows don’t end up in landfill but are sustainably recycled. Only 20% of the new facing brick consists of primary raw materials such as sand, water and any dyes.

The new brick is not only a fine example of sustainability, but it also delivers on aesthetics. Vandersanden achieved this attractive result by giving the Pirrouet® brick a unique surface texture. It is available in 11 colours, giving every facade a unique and aesthetic look.

Darren White adds: “Years of hard work have gone into developing a CO2-negative and circular facing brick. This innovation brings us another big step closer to our promise of a CO2-neutral future, as set out in our sustainability programme, Together to Zero.

“We are therefore immensely proud of this achievement by our team. This facing brick is a milestone for our sector, and with it, we are contributing to more circularity and reducing the CO2 footprint in the entire construction sector.”

Capturing CO2 from factories for reuse

The most energy-intensive aspect of producing facing bricks is no longer necessary with Pirrouet®. Instead of being fired in a kiln, they are hardened in a CO2 chamber. To fill this chamber, Vandersanden uses CO2 captured from other industries. As a result, a waste product becomes a raw material again and less CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

During the production process, each tonne of Pirrouet® facing bricks absorbs as much as 60 kg of CO2, which bonds permanently with the calcium hydroxide present during the curing. To complete the sustainable process, Vandersanden generates most of its green electricity via its own solar panels and windmill.

Production started with slim facing bricks and the range will be extended with WF and DF sizes of bricks later this year. To find out more about the innovative production process of Pirrouet®, visit the Vandersanden website.

Towards a CO2-free future

The innovations by family company Vandersanden are all part of its sustainability programme, Together to Zero. With this initiative, it is committed to making all its processes, production methods, factories and products even more sustainable.

Johan Deburchgrave, CEO of Vandersanden, comments: “We are not just doing business for ourselves. We want to contribute to solutions for the major challenges in our society and for this reason we have created Together to Zero. Vandersanden wants to be completely CO2 neutral by 2050. With this revolutionary facing brick, we are one step closer to achieving that goal. We also want to inspire others and we’re calling on all our sector colleagues to work together towards a neutral footprint. We challenge everyone to join this pledge.”

The revolutionary Pirrouet® facing brick entered the Belgian and Dutch markets in 2023, to a positive response. The construction and equipping of the new Pirrouet® factory in Lanklaar is almost finished and the first Pirrouet® bricks have been delivered to the very first project to specify them, the pioneering Groen Nobelhorst project in Almere, in the Netherlands, where 60 sustainable homes are being built.

Darren White concludes: “We didn’t choose the name of the brick, Pirrouet®, at random. We wanted to pay tribute to our former CEO, Pirre Wuytack, a visionary man who was the founder and instigator of this pioneering sustainable innovation. The name is also a reference to the 360° rotation, the circular, and represents a movement towards a CO2-neutral world.”

Compass Point Business Park
16 Stocks Bridge Way
St. Ives
Cambridgeshire
PE27 5JL

T: (+44) 01954 268075
E: [email protected]

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