Amazing Science

Sugarcrete: A Novel Construction Material

Sugarcrete is a novel construction material that promises many advantages over traditional bricks. Sugarcrete provides sustainable method to use bagasse to produce a lightweight construction material. Sugarcrete has the potential to change the way we view construction of buildings.

Sugarcrete blocks as slabs for making floor

Development of Sugarcrete

Architects of the East London University have developed sugarcrete in collaboration with Sustainability Research Institute and Tate & Lyle Sugars. Sustainability Research Institutes is among many other instituted by the same name which are part of many universities in the UK. Tate & Lyle Sugars is a sugar manufacturing company. Tate & Lyle was once a sugar refinery which diversified into food and beverages business in due course of time.

Making Sugarcrete

Sugarcrete is made by treating bagasse with sand-mineral binders.

Benefits of Sugarcrete

Sugarcrete is much lighter than traditional bricks. It takes one fourth of the time for curing than what is required for concrete. Sgarcrete needs just one week for curing while concrete takes four weeks for curing. Curing is the process of maintaining adequate moisture in concrete to allow for proper hydration of concrete. Proper curing helps in making strong and durable concrete structure.

Various tests have shown that Sugarcrete has high quality mechanical, acoustic, fire and thermal properties. Sugarcrete has suitable mechanical strength making it an ideal construction material. Sugarcrete is fire-resistant and is thus quite safe for being used in a building. Sugarcrete can provide good insulation against external temperature and thus would minimize energy need for air-conditioning or heating.

Sugarcrete leaves much smaller carbon footprint which means it is environment-friendly.

Sugarcrete can be used as ultralow cost material for building highly affordable houses for poor people in many developing countries. Countries which produce sugarcane in huge amounts can get great dividends from sugarcrete.


Fibrous waste produced after crushing of sugarcane and some other plants is called bagasse. Bagasse is generally used as fuel for the sugar-mill. Using bagasse as fuel is a good option because the amount of carbon dioxide produced on burning bagasse is less than the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by sugarcane plants to produce the same amount of bagasse. Nevertheless, using bagasse as fuel ends up producing carbon dioxide gas which is a potent greenhouse gas.

Using bagasse for making sugarcrete would help in delaying carbon emission.


Heap of Bagasse

Sugarcane farming is one of the fastest means of converting carbon dioxide into biomass. Sugarcane plants are highly efficient in creating biomass through photosynthesis because they us C4 mechanism of carbon fixation. Other plants from the grass family also use the same method. Growing sugarcane is up to 50 times more efficient than forestry in converting carbon dioxide into biomass. It is important to remember that all green plants do the job of making biomass when they make food through photosynthesis.


Various methods for making low carbon economy or decarbonized economy are collectively called decarbonization. The primary aim of decarbonization is to reduce greenhouse emissions so that the problem of global warming can be tackled.

Many strategies and approaches are followed for moving towards a low-carbon economy. Some of them are as follows:


  1. University of East London
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Tate & Lyle Sugars