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Optimized Arctic structures using a new circular biopolymer concrete and environmentally conscious additive manufacturing

Denne idé er en del af The Circular Construction Challenge – Rethink Waste

Jessica Bak
Jessica Bak
1. oktober 2018
  1. Description:

Circularity – What makes the solution circular? 


The proposed bio-based material can be produced by locally available resources - local production and local raw materials are key figures to this project. Food waste of large-scale production chains such as the meat industry, as well as fishing industries and locally formed biological resources, such as algae, are potential sources for bio-gels. BPC can reuse these bio-gels as a binding material in the concrete composite.

In the light of an envisaged circular economy, the use of waste products and abundantly available materials is crucial to build the basis for a sustainable exploitation of resources. Greenland is currently reusing merely small parts of the waste produced in large industry branches like the fishing industry. Considerable amounts of organic matter end on dumps and in the ocean. The reuse is predominantly prevented by the remoteness of sites, i.e. absence of large transportation and industrial infrastructure. Therefore, local solutions for reuse need to be found without depending on the development of large industries. BPC is based on the collection of the biological waste, and the connected reuse as a bio-gel binder. As an alternative to cement, the bio-gel production is not dependent on a large industrial landscape. This is, among others, due to a significantly lower energy consumption (50% less). Key figures are lower production temperatures.

After mixing with local mineral aggregates, the material enters a circular production chain which can be described, starting by the construction (A), over the use (B) to recycling (C) and over to (A) again:

  1. Constructional 3D-printing: The material is envisaged to be especially suitable for the use in large-scale printing processes. Due to thermoplastic properties and fast hardening characteristics, the material enables the manufacturing of very slender and freely shaped structures.
  2. Life-time of structure: The possibility of free shape construction allows for optimized use of material in the load carrying system, i.e. buildings have a customized resistive performance, designed for given peak environmental loading of the near environment. Therefore, the suitability of the construction for extreme climates is ensured and a long life-time can be expected.
  3. Recycling: After use, the concrete can be re-melted and reused in a printing process for new constructions. In principle, a potential 100% of the structural components can be recycled by a biochemical low temperature melting process.


In the case of non-reusability of the concrete due to purity reasons or the absence of infrastructure, the building materials can be left on site without environmental issues arising. The biological matter in the composite will simply degrade.


A scheme of BPC’s circularity can be seen attached on the cover of this proposal.

Vision – What is the visionary aim of the solution?


This project aims on radically changing the way we design and construct buildings and structures today in the Arctic, and opens up for an innovative and green architecture by using a new circular material for the implementation of minimalistic optimised structures cost-efficiently.


Currently, Greenlandic built environment faces challenges regarding building material shortage, sustainable goals, and management of waste. Potential solutions are challenged by its remote isolated location, lack of transport infrastructure and extreme harsh climate.

In Greenland housing and infrastructural shortages are rapidly intensifying2 with a 300% increase in population over the last 70 years, especially in urban environments3. In 2004, a housing shortage of around 5000 units was reported just for West-Greenland2,4. Since then, economic- and touristic- activities increased5, creating also a great demand for ambitious large-scale development projects. A lack of local resources for these constructions causes extensive material imports and creates such a high impact on environment and economy of the country. Construction material imports origin from the 3000 km far away Denmark to more than 95%6. This makes up 12% of imported goods by value between the countries Denmark and Greenland6. Hence, large parts of the Arctic are dependent on external supporting resulting in considerable costs due to its remoteness7. The practiced building culture in the Arctic is mostly shaped by Euro-Canadian influences throughout the 20th century. It lacks on adapted technology to withstand the extreme climate conditions and causes severe problems connected with snow accumulation, wind attack, foundational support and indoor climate2.


The current demand for a faster, cheaper and locally-based production will be addressed in our project by embodying resource and economically efficient solutions in the implementation of the prototype. These are: the optimum structural design for extreme loading cases (high wind, temperature and snow loading), the minimization of imported materials (local production of construction materials) and the minimal impact construction machinery (rather small and handy construction unit which can be easily transported to remote construction sites). Hence, providing sustainable solutions for the Polar building and construction industry as a whole.


The Arctic case study gives augmented issues due to remoteness and correlated increased economic value of materials. This can boost the impact of our solution and ease the implementation of the method in broad application and less harsh contexts.


Preliminary experiments of BP concrete with bone-glue as a biopolymer-binder, conducted at DTU Civil Engineering, revealed that a compression strength and flexural strength in the same order of magnitude as conventional concrete can be reached [Figure 3]. The significant difference to conventional concrete is the hardening mixing process. Under the influence of heat, the material gets plastic and is workable. Bone glue represents a bio-gel binder and is produced by waste products.


The applicants believe that the material’s workability allows new construction technologies like 3D printing to unfold their potential on a broader scale. Because of its thermoplastic behaviour, Bpc can be used for manufacturing thin-walled geometries and structures, hence reducing material consumption significantly compared to similar application with conventional cementitious concrete or clay. Alternative suitable sources for biopolymer will be researched and tested to ensure global applicability. If the concept of the project works to a sufficient degree, it will pave the way to a new line of building materials, architecture in minimal structures and it could radically change manufacturing processes in the construction industry.


Thus, by building the first prototype of an optimised structure using Arctic biopolymer concrete we will demonstrate the vast structural possibilities as well as its potential for the construction industry, architecture and society of this newly conceived circular material.


As for the novelty of this proposal, it is possible to ensure that in different aspects this circular solution is ground-breaking new from multiple perspectives:


  • This will be the first initiative to attempt to test the additive manufacturing technology in the Arctic environment. 
  • There is no evidence of the use of biopolymers obtained from the fishing/food industry as a binding constituent for concrete, this initiative will be a pioneering effort in this regard.       
  • The use of organic material as replacement for the cementitious binding compoents as in Bpc, is a pioneering task.
  • ‘BioStruct 01’ will be the first case of an optimised lightweight structure in the Arctic.
  • A synergic partnership will be created between two of the major Greenlandic traders this is, food and construction sectors.


Specific Objectives 


During the Circular Construction Challenge process, the applicants aim at conducting the following activities:  

  1. To elaborate a preliminary study on the material resourcing and the potential production chain of Bpc. This includes mineral aggregates (rocks, sand, gravel), binding agent obtained from food production, and its processing. This study will be rendered as a technical report or academic publication.
  2. To conduct a structural characterisation of the material to comprehensively understands its load-bearing possibilities.
  3. To promptly set up a simple additive manufacturing (3D printing) unit. Material samples will be firstly produced and mechanically tested. Probable material adaption to optimise the extruded functionality will be carried out.
  4. To complete the design of a proof-of-concept prototype, ‘BioStruct 01’, an optimised shell structure, based on Artic environmental load conditions and Bpc material properties; and to construct such structure at DTU experimental facilities.  
  5. Engage with Greenlandic food industry and construction companies as well as SMEs and jointly render a production and business model for the application of Bpc.
  6. To engage in all dissemination activities framed within the CCC programme, and additionally use all institutional platforms to maximise the impact of our solution in terms of its potential and technical results. We aimed at reaching out to the general public, academia and industries via websites, social network, press, academic journals and conferences for example, in the fields of: circular economy, sustainable constructions, Arctic technology, environmental engineering, structural design, material science, indoor climate.
  7. To use ‘BioStruct 01’ to conduct long-hauled in situ monitoring on different technical aspects of the material and construction technology employed, for example: indoor climate conditions, hygroscopic properties, structural soundness (deflections or deformations), sedimentation and ageing.
  8. To involve Arctic Engineering students of all levels (bachelor, master and postgraduate schools) in each step of the CCC process as well as during the long-term assessment of the prototype in Greenland.


Value creation – What value do you create for the user, the planet and the society at large? 


The research proposes to make highly novel constructional 3D-printing within the flagship field Arctic and an innovative material idea applicable for the conventional building practice. Therewith, the main impact of this project is not only to benefit Arctic societies by providing suitable technology for self-sufficient building technology, but also to make the involved countries Denmark and Greenland model example for pioneering effort in green, circular and future oriented building technology.

Additionally, the proposed technology allows for minimal usage of material and a freeform language, both enabled by a new specialised circular material. This technology has the potential to change the way we are building houses and structures today radically. The first protoype, ‘BioStruct 01’, will help the idea to reach proof-of-concept stage and the authors believe that its implementation will create value at multiple levels:


  1. For the user


The primary user of the proposed material and technology are the Greenlandic habitants.

In this context, Bpc is initially conceived to replace traditional construction materials in the Greenlandic built environment and reduce marine waste derived from food production. The benefits to the Greenlandic society are several and can be resumed as following:   


  • Reducing the import of construction materials. The broad usage of the proposed solution will be making Greenland less dependent on external economies for the development of infrastructure in both public and residential sector. Thanks to the local production of organic-based binders and the avoidance of transportation of raw material, currently prohibitive construction costs could be reduced, as well the intricate logistic chains could be eased. More and better infrastructure could be envisage for the benefit of the dynamic Greenlandic population.
  • Better urban environmental conditions. Already gentrified Greenlandic conurbations will be relieved from production, accumulation and air-polluting incineration of waste derived from building industry by the use of a circular material capable to potentially be completely reused, patently improving the life quality of Arctic habitants.
  • Improvement of indoor climate quality and health of Arctic habitants. Dominant architecture has responded to the cold and dry Greenlandic climate with highly insulated building envelops to avoid heat losses and cold air discomfort. Lack of natural or mechanically aided ventilation has resulted in elevated indoor pollutants, thus negatively affecting the occupants’ health and comfort8. Bpc has offered early evidence of presenting hygroscopic properties, for which its use could eventually improve indoor climate conditions as a moisture buffering material; avoiding, at the same time, costs and requirements associated to aided ventilation. 
  • Cultural for Greenland. Higher freedom in construction design and economic savings can enable not only a more sustainable architecture but also allow Greenlandic culture and values to influence the built environment.
  • Responsible economic growth for Greenland. Greenlandic economic growth is on decline for the last few years9]. The fragile Arctic economy would be benefited by the creation of self-sustainable business for the production and application Bpc with all components sourced and processed locally. As envisaged, very little infrastructure needs to be placed on site to produce the material. The possibility of applying Bpc via additive manufacturing using autonomous and transportable 3D printing machinery opens the possibility for an entire new business model of infrastructure development, highly congruent with the scattered and unconnected Greenlandic demographic distribution.
  • Creation of qualified competitive work force. In its 10 years of presence in Sisimiut, Greenland, the DTU Centre for Arctic Technology has been responsible for the formation of more than 100 Arctic Engineers10 most of whom have continued to pursue a local-based professional career. The scientific and technical knowledge achieved by this project will directly benefit the future Arctic Engineering students, providing them with unique first-hand experience regarding novel sustainable materials, advanced structural optimisation methods, and state-of-the-art construction techniques. This is in direct alignment with the Autonomous Government’s aim for sustainable economic growth through the provision of a critical mass of qualified, flexible and competitive work force7.


  1. For the planet


The pristine ecosystems has been declared as one Greenland’s most valuable assessments to be preserved7, not only for the benefit of the growing local touristic industry but as a unique natural reservoir of global ecological value11. The significant reduction of marine waste via circular solutions like Bpc, will be of direct benefit to the fragile marine and terrestrial Arctic ecological dynamics, therefore contributing to the global biodiversity.

Due to the replicability potential (see section below) and design freedom enabled by concrete mixes with biopolymers replacing cementitious binding agents, it is possible to hypothesise that the impact of this solution could have a substantial impact for the reduction of CO2 derived from concrete production12. The concrete industry, is responsible for 5% of global man-made emission of CO2, derived from both the chemical process (50%) and fossil fuel burning (40%). 88% of this emission are associated to the fabrication of cement 13,14. Early-stage calculations indicate that the use of BPC could reduce up to 50% of CO2 emissions and energy consumption compared to conventional cement production. Given that Bpc is a biodegradable and recyclable material, the generation of waste derived from construction demolition is also to be reduced.

The concept behind Bpc is to enabled the conscious materialisation of more efficient thin-walled structures. This is possible via 3D printed method and allowed by its thermoplastic and self-adhesive properties. Thus, material/strength optimised design occurs at a macro (structure) and micro (element) scale. Referential project of optimised shell structures has shown that up to 75% of material saving are possible for structural components15, contributing to the transition of the construction sector toward higher sustainability. This saving has a direct impact in the amount of CO2 derived by the construction industry.   



  1. Society at large


As a current state, the construction industry remains resource unconscious and lavish in material use due to the cheap availability. In prospect, this will change as a result of increasing value of resources and higher degrees of automations. The technical advancements procured by the implementation of Bpc technology are of direct benefit for the whole society from the knowledge, social, cultural, economic and environmental perspective.


Some of the societal challenges addressed by the European Comissiona are addressed by this project, namely:


1) Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials: Here, three aspects of the project idea play a particular role, namely the usage of a biological/organic replacement for cement in conventional concrete (CO2 reduction), the organic replacement is derived from side or waste streams in industrial production processes (zero-waste concept). Finally, the new Bpc material will be applied efficiently by optimizing the construction design to a low material-consumption-to-structural-strength ratio (topology optimization).2) Health and Wellbeing: Due to hygroscopic properties, Bpc shows potential to influence extreme indoor air humidity and hence the indoor climate. 3) Smart, Green and Integrated Transport: An important part of the project idea is the usage of local material resources hence simply reducing or even avoiding the required transport of raw materials. 4) Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies: Europe faces direct consequences and impacts from worldwide issues such as global warming. The implementation of development goals of the world community through innovation is essential, the unfolding of the proposed solution will facilitate the fulfilment of these goals by an easy to implement innovation. 5) Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens: The construction technology behind Bpc will typically operate from a stationary location to optimize the production process. However, with its flexible design purpose and relying on local material resources, it is well suited for deployment in disaster areas for rebuilding needed infrastructure in the wake of natural, technological or social hazards, thus strengthening societal resilience.


Furthermore, the solution addresses 10 out the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UNDP 2030b, namely: 1)  Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all agespromote sustained. 2) Inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. 3) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. 4) Reduce inequality within and among countries. 5) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. 6) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. 7) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. 8) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. 9) Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss and. 10) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.


The implementation of the Bpc building technology is still in an early stage, therefore, a well-defined circular business model is to be developed over the course of the CCC Programme.

Nevertheless, the circularity of the business concept is simple to demonstrate. Entrepreneurs, start-ups businesses or SMEs requirements are little: simple resource need for food waste, algae, or other biopolymer resources, a bioprocessing (decocting) device, mineral aggregates and a tool for additive manufacturing (3D printer). As a result, a biodegradable construction material is rendered. Such material could not only eliminate external waste (for example, food production waste) for its fabrication, it has also converted such waste into a thermoplastic biodegradable material that can be reprocessed (shredded and melted) and reused again. At the same time, excess during the construction process has been avoided due to the precision of additive manufacturing technique and, amount of material employed has been minimized by the efficiency of the obtainable designs. Thus, this business model retrieves waste from the environment to create economical profit.


Scalability – What is the market potential of the solution? 


The initial target market for the application of Bpc construction technology is the Greenlandic built environment. Greenland’s building market is currently under pressure17 and this is expected to continue intensifying due to the continuous gentrification trend observed in the last decades specially in Nuuk, Ilulissat and Sisimiut18. A shortage of more than 5000 residential units has been estimated of West Greenland only19. Demands for large-scale developments projects is also in the rise, for urban public infrastructure, (e.g. ‘Arktisk Stadium’ in Nuuk), improved intercontinental connectivity (e.g.  2 new airports in Qaqortoq and Tasiilaq, and extension of Nuuk and Ilulissat’s airports to allow direct flights from, e.g., Copenhagen) and growing touristic activities (e.g. The Fjord Center in Ilulissat) accounting for this. The envisaged arrival of mining and quarrying industry17 will also require of new specialized infrastructure. With prohibitive prices of accustomed construction techniques and a falling economic growth, the success of the presented concept (Bpc for conscious additive manufacturing) would offer and efficient, sustainable and competitive construction solutions at low cost that could be applied in all the above mentioned cases.


The size of the Greenladic construction market can of course be considered of reduced scale (1,986 DKK millions accounted for 2015)8. However, the responsibility of providing knowledge- and innovation-based solutions for the sustainable development of the Greenlandic society accounts in significance for the relevance of this proposal. Additionally, this first proof-of-concept of Bpc technology in Greenland is also understood as a stress-test case at a location where current amplified problems, such as highly constrained logistic networks, local resource shortages, increased value of imported goods, and a harsh climate provides an ideal scenario for assessment our solution’s soundness and feasibility in all possible aspects.


Once the first technical application is verified as reliable, (via the comprehensive assessment of the prototype ‘BioStruct 01’), the applicants believe that is possible to envisaged the adaptation this technology to other contexts. The reason relies in the possibility of obtaining the binding agent for the production of biopolymer concrete from other organic sources, such as marine algae. This implies that there is reasonable suggestions to believe that Bpc technology could competein some aspects at the global concrete construction market. Due to the early age of our idea, different origins for the binding agent have not been fully explored.  


Additionally, at the current stage Bpc has shown properties which cannot be found in conventional concrete, such as the solidification when cooled down or liquefaction when warmed (thermoplasticity), the good self-adhesion, i.e. the material adheres to itself even when parts of an interface is hardened, the fast solidification, and the uncomplicated and energy efficient processing of the material. These properties Bpc more suitable for additive manufacturing over conventional concrete.


Due to potential benefits of increased architectural freedom, safety, and reduction in construction time and costs21, constructional additive manufacturing processes gained rapidly interest and development in recent years22,23,24. The market size of additive manufacturing is expected to double fold in the space of 3 years only (from 5.2 in 2015, to 12.8 in 2018 billion U.S. dollar25. Nevertheless, even if the research on automation in construction started off during the 80’s26 and the development of robotic deposition manufacturing in constructions outset almost 25 years ago43, the technology is believed to still be in its infancy 21,22,23,24. Bpc technology is inherently bonded to the advancements of additive manufacturing and structural optimisation, thus technological developments in this new discipline will contribute to the efficiency of our solution. Expected improvements of the technology are for example, related to the placing of reinforcement, interface adhesion between layers, the limitations in printing free forms, and the adjustment of setting time and rheological properties of the material.


Co-creation – Who is contributing to the solution? 

The applicants team consist of an interdisciplinary group from two sections at the Department of Civil Engineering-Technical University of Denmark (DTU); namely, Section for Structures and Sagety and Section for Materials and Durability. DTU’s Department of Civil Engineering (DTU Civil Engineering) carries out teaching and research within most aspects of civil engineering. The mission of the department is to develop decision basis and technology in support of sustainable developments in the area of civil engineering through research, education, innovation and research-based consultancy. The department recently expanded and modernized laboratory Center for Advanced Structural and Material Testing (CASMaT) and individual laboratories such as boundary-layer wind tunnels (DTU Byg) and an in-house developed delta-printer for 3D printing of structures in meter-scale (DTU MEK). All laboratories are supported by highly specialized workshops and technicians.

DTU Civil Engineering has a long-standing commitment for the development of sustainable Arctic building solutions throughout its Arctic Technology Centre (ARTEK).  ARTEK, was formally established in 2000 to educate Greenlandic and Danish engineering students in Arctic technology. The centre is a joint venture between Teknikimik Ilinniarfik, KTI, (Tech College Greenland) in Sisimiut and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Lyngby while organisationally part of the department of Civil Engineering (DTU BYG). ARTEK has established and consolidated itself as a central, international player within educating and researching in relation to the global climate changes (also see Arctic DTU), and innovative solution for a more sustainable Arctic built environment. 

Members of our DTU Team are:

Associate Professor Holger Koss works for more than 23 years with wind loading on buildings and structures through wind tunnel testing. His research focuses amongst other on wind loading, dynamic structural response, influence of atmospheric icing on load and response of dynamic structures and on  snow accumulation on and around buildings.

Professor Lisbeth Ottosen research work comprises environmental electrochemistry: development of electrochemical methods for removal of heavy metals from polluted soil/ fly ashes and sludge; urban mining: development of technologies, which mining of e.g. phosphorus and copper from secondary resources as fly ashes; and preservation of cultural heritage: electrochemical desalination of heritage buildings and monuments. Professor Lisbeth Ottosen has also sit as Head of the Centre for Arctic Technology for the period 201, and is a founding member of the Zero Waste Research group at DTU Civil Engineering.

Assistant Professor Jessica Bak work focuses on minimal impact infrastructure in Polar areas, lightweight structures, structural optimization, multi-objective parametric design, mechanical properties of lightweight materials under cryogenic loading, historical documentation of lightweight structures in polar settings, reverse engineering/structural interpretation of Arctic vernacular lightweight structures.


PhD Candidate Julian Christ’s research is planned to start in November 2018. His PhD studies will focuses in the comprehensive study of Biopolymer Concrete as a sound material for additive manufacturing and the application of such technology in the Arctic. Previous research conducted by Julian has involved the application of topology optimisation algorithms based on Arctic stochastic wind loads for the design of optimised lightweight structures.    

Other contributors and collaborators of the project are:

The Bergia Foundation. The foundation supports research activities related to building arts and techniques. Economic support has been granted by Bergia to carry out a public exhibition of the prototype BIOSTRUCT 01 in Greenland. 

TeNu – Tegnestuen Nuuk (Nuuk Architects) based in Nuuk Greenland, the studio provides planning and management of development projects, construction supervision and inspection for both public and private builder-owners. The variety of projects comprise office building, hospitals, nursery schools and other education facilities, as well as maintenance of several public buildings. The office is managed by Peter Barfoed and 2 employees. The team cooperate with other firms if demand. Peter Barfoed is currently involved in a research project regarding snow accumulation on and around buildings regarding snow accumulation on and around buildings. Peter Barfoed, Architect MAA, will contribute to research activities regarding the climatic impact on buildings and issues regarding building technology and practice in Arctic areas.


KTI-Tech College Greenland is an educational technical institution based in Sisimiut Greenland. KTI  provides education in various arctic technology related subject such as Craft and Technology, Technology and Communication, Mechanics, Transport / Logistics, Raw Materials. Together with DTU. Facilities for the study of Greenlandic raw materials will be provided by KTI during the project period. 


Additionally, and after positive informal exchanges, the team currently works on formalising the collaboration with the waste centre in Nuuk. Once our solution has been comprehensively tested (sound structural properties, material composition, fire safety, durability, influence on indoor climate), partnership with local construction business will be created for the application of the BPC technology. 


The activities relative to the project will be managed by Associate Professor Holger Koss.

This technology is fully enabled by state-of-the-art construction technology, therefore innovative processes is required at each step of the value chain.


Marine-based food producers must divert the organic raw material from the disposal stream (currently discharged through the sewage system untreated into the sea31,32.

Mineral aggregates suppliers must provide the whole granulometry scale, including sand for the production of cementitious mix. Sand is currently imported[JFP1] . It is believed that Greenland southern coast could become a world provider of sand and gravel, accounting for the 8% of suspended sediments transported into the global ocean via hundreds of deltas33. Other methods, like extraction from the seabed are also being envisaged. 

Although simple, local starts up producing Bpc would be required to implement a highly novel production process, which involves the decocting of organic waste and the combination of such substance with fine minerals aggregates.

Local building starts-up would be required to use an specially adapted tool for additive manufacturing, which implies a new operative paradigm for Greenladic construction industry, where less personal is employed and replaced for a smaller more skilled work-force. The possibility to control the material properties according to the construction structural scheme is also a new aspect of this new technology to be operated by local construction entrepreneurs.  

Finally, designers and engineers are expected to explore the vast possibilities that the Bpc technology provide to the Greenlandic built environment, namely, the realization of more sustainable, efficient constructions via exploring structural optimisation methods, such as topology optimisation, formfinding or classic lightweight shell structures.   


— An outline of the competencies you need to realize your idea


We identify three fields of proficiencies required for the implementation of this proposal: 


Arctic-based knowledge

  • Knowledge on and data access to the Greenlandic climate, including wind, snow and temperature regimens
  • Thorough understanding of the current state-of-art regarding waste management in Greenland 
  • Clear vision of the sourcing and production-chain of Biopolymer concrete’s basic components: fish-based food products, local mineral aggregates of different granulometries.   
  • Understanding and fluid access to aerial and maritime logistic networks operating in Greenland for the transportation of personnel and freight (material samples, equipment, machinery and prototype).  
  • Vision of role players in the Greenlandic building business, including local architectural offices, stakeholder and SMEs.
  • Awareness of dominant construction techniques and building material employed in Greenland and the implied costs.
  • Awereness of local cultural aspect regarding Greenlandic built environment 
  • Access to test-facilities in the Arctic.


Structural Design

  • Skills with structural optimisation methods such as topology optimisation, geometry optimisation, formfinding.
  • Experience in multi-scale material development on nano-(biochemical manipulation of organic binders), micro-(test on material properties including numerical modelling) and macroscale (production and testing of large-scale building components)
  • Knowledge on 3D printing (additive manufacturing) methods and equipment.
  • Access to specialised muti-scale test facilities and experimental workshops.



  • Knowledge in the development of circular business models
  • Experience in partnerships and start-ups creation as well as technical innovation 
  • Project management and strategic planning skills
  • Communications and dissemination skills



— What you expect that the CCC-program* can do for you



The supports required from the CCC-program for the development of the solution point toward two aspects:


  1. Financing for the construction of a proof-of-concept prototype ‘BIOSTRUCT 01’.


Economic support from CCC Programme will partly serve for the implementation of the proof-of-concept ‘BioStruct 01’. Financing will be used for the acquisition and transport of raw materials, use of lab facilities, contribution to salary of lab personnel, acquisition of construction tools and machinery (robotic arm and extruder) and transport of the prototype from Denmark to Sisimiut, Greenland.   


Funding for the study of the material properties itself has been granted for the period 2018-2020, by the programme VILLUM EXPERIMENT. Such study will be conducted as a PhD research (see section‘Co-creation’). Preliminary tests on Bpc specimens with variations on the polymer component have shown promising results regarding material strength and workability to build optimised structures. Intensive research efforts will be made in the coming period with the aim of reaching the right step for its first technical application. Therefore, support from CCC programme will be devoted to the realisation of  ‘BioStruct 01’.


This proof-of-concept structure, will be further exploited in the future through monitoring of material and structural conditions hence adding knowledge on long-term robustness of the Bpc technology. In order to this, ‘BioStruct 01’ will be transported to Sisimiut. The design of the prototype shape is an early stage. The conceptual vision for this prototype is to demonstrate the viability of minimal and smart consumption of material thought an efficient geometrical definition.


Our first approach to a minimalistic structural system has been via topology optimisation method, where Arctic stochastic wind loads have served as input for the optimal material distribution of a structural surface33,34 [Figure 4]. Under this method, the optimisation of a structure in its overall form and the detailed shape and inner geometry of a structural element, follows the nature of the load impacts on the structure and the constraints defined for the optimisation algorithm, such as support points and free space for rooms and windows. With a construction technology specifically geared towards freeform design, the applicants aims at demonstrating that the shape of a building should not be limited to the solution range answering physical boundary conditions. In particular, the value of inhabited buildings derives from the harmonic interaction of form, function and aesthetic. During the innovation process, further investigation on structural optimisation methods will be conducted for the completion of ‘BioStruct 01’s design. Logistic constraints for its transportation will be take into account during this process.


  1. Developving a circular business model.  While the applicant team is sufficiently competent in the areas of Arctic-based knowledge and structural design, there is a lack of knowledge in regards to the creation of business and innovation models, partnerships and entrepreneurships. We aim at receiving such guidance over course of the CCC programme. Collaboration with Greenlandic entrepreneurs will be intended.


  1. Dissemination. A strategic dissemination of the solution’s findings, knowledge and evidence-based conclusions is envisaged. The target audience being: Greenlandic authorities, engineering and construction stakeholders, waste and raw materials entrepreneurs, as well as Greenland’s general public, concrete manufacturers, additive manufacturing entrepreneurs, architectural community, environmental authorities,  significant academic and scientific societies.   




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 [JFP1]Is this ture?


Indsendt af Jessica Bak den 1. oktober 2018

We think we have uploaded our application, but we haven't received a confirmation yet (11:56). Please confirm.

Hi Jessica

Once you see your application live on challenges.dk, it has been uploaded - you're all good.

Thank you for participating!


Julie // challenges.dk secretariat

Indsendt af Julie Munck Ewert den 4. oktober 2018

Hi Jessica,

There seems to be an issue with some of the documents you have uploaded, specifically no. 3, 4, 5 and 6. If you can't make it work, please send the documents to challenges@erst.dk to make sure they are taken into consideration.

Julie // challenges.dk

Indsendt af Jessica Bak den 15. oktober 2018

Hi Julie,
I have now send you the failed documents by email. I would very much appreciate if you send them to the evaluators for consideration.