Grant to Investigate Dredged Sediment as Building Material

A team of researchers from Utrecht University and NIOZ have won a grant from the NWO Topsector Water & Maritiem to investigate the potential of dredged harbor sediment as a carbon neutral resource for building materials.

The team will investigate this in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam, Royal IHC, Van Oord, NETICS, Wetsus and TNO.

Each year millions of tonnes of sediment are dredged worldwide as part of harbor maintenance. Oxidation of dredged sediment leads to CO2 emissions and the release of contaminants.

The sediment is currently either transported out to sea or contained due to high levels of toxic compounds and heavy metals. This makes dredging costly, but this could be avoidable if the sediment became a resource.

Dredged sediment a potential building material

Dredged sediment is a potential building material but must be modified to prevent negative environmental impacts.

Using different grades of sediment dredged from Europe’s largest sea port – Port of Rotterdam, the project will test the feasibility of transforming harbor sediment into a building material with neutral or negative CO2 footprint.

According to the release, the researchers will assess how the addition of reactive silicate minerals, particularly olivine, which is known to participate in natural carbon sequestration, can transform dredged sediment from waste to resource.