Vandersanden launches Pirrouet®: the first CO2-negative facing brick

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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.

One tonne of facing bricks absorbs up to 60 kg of CO2

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 exterior walls will contribute to a smaller environmental footprint. “Vandersanden wants to be completely CO2 neutral by 2050. With this CO2-negative facing brick, this intended reality comes a big step closer,” says Rudi Peeters, CEO at Vandersanden.

Vandersanden is launching the first CO2-negative facing brick, Pirrouet®. The brick is unique because it is not fired but cured using CO2 from other factories. 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.

Moreover, 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 possibly dyes.

The new brick is not only a fine example of sustainability, it also goes hand in hand with aesthetics. After all, a facing brick is an important calling card for a house. Vandersanden achieved this result by giving the Pirrouet® brick a unique surface texture. It is available in nine colours, giving every facade a unique and aesthetic look.

“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 as a manufacturer are contributing to more circularity and reducing the CO2 footprint in the entire construction sector,” says Rudi Peeters, CEO at Vandersanden.

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 gas oven, they are hardened in a CO2 chamber. To fill this chamber, Vandersanden uses CO2 released during the combustion of fossil fuels in industries with intensive energy consumption. 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.

Towards a CO2-free future

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

“We are not just doing business for ourselves. We want to contribute to the 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,” says Rudi Peeters.

Timing and production

The revolutionary Pirrouet® facing brick will enter the Belgian and Dutch markets from the first quarter of 2024. The construction and equipping of the factory in Lanklaar are already well advanced. Later, Vandersanden will release the brick in other markets.

“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,” says Rudi Peeters.

Curious to find out more?

Do you want to find out more about our partnership and how contribute to a more sustainable future?

We are not just doing business for ourselves. We want to contribute to the solutions for the major challenges in our society and for this reason we have created Together to Zero.

Rudi Peeters, CEO Vandersanden

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