ABU DHABI: Dubai-based architects have introduced a cement that is made out of the salt extracted from UAE’s desalination plants.
Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, principal architects at Waiwai, are the two masterminds behind the invention that could potentially set the construction industry free from the conventional building practices.
The architect duo from the UAE’s mineral-rich Sabkha, a coastal sand flat in which evaporite-saline minerals accumulate as a result of the arid climate.
Sabkha was used for construction purposes centuries ago; Siwa, a medieval Egyptian town at Libyan border was developed using Sabkha.
However, the Waiwai architects turned their attention to waste brine, a byproduct of the UAE’s desalination plants containing minerals similar to Sabkha.
UAE runs one of the world’s largest desalination operations, producing 28 million cubic meters of brine waste each day.
The country has been exploring ways to dispose of waste brine without harming marine life. In this regard, the UAE, earlier this year, launched the Rethink Brine Challenge with a grand prize of 2.5 million AED ($930,000).
According to Wael Al Awar, waste brine contains magnesium minerals in large quantities. The innovative product has been subjected to different tests to determine its strength and rigidity.
Al Awar claims that the cement can be used to build a single-story structure at any given time and place. The architect is hopeful to enhance the product more to be used in multi-level buildings.