Barney Shanks wins the 2023 Hawley Award for Net Zero Carbon Innovation for ‘Seratech’

by Engineers' Company

7/14/20231 min read

Barney Shanks is a PhD researcher at Imperial College London who along with fellow researcher Sam Draper developed a novel way to capture waste CO2 and utilise it in the manufacture of a carbon-negative cement replacement material.

Cement is a vital ingredient for making concrete but is responsible for as much as 8% of all human CO2 emissions. Concrete is considered essential to maintain and improve our quality of life, especially in developing countries, where 90% of future concrete production is forecast to occur.

The identified technique facilitates sustainable concrete and other construction products. It was featured in the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Low Carbon Concrete Routemap as one of only 2 technologies with the maximum impact rating to reduce CO2 emissions.

Barney and Sam subsequently established their company ‘Seratech’ in July 2021 to commercialise the technology. The potential of this technology and its wide-ranging applications have been recognised by engineers, contractors, and developers. Industry partnerships have delivered initial prototypes and products have been demonstrated at the London Design Festival.

The Hawley Award will be used to promote further full-scale site tests to confirm the application and durability when using current construction methods.

The Hawley Award, established in 2006, is awarded for the most outstanding Engineering Innovation that delivers demonstrable benefit to the environment, and will help to achieve Net Zero Carbon by at least 2050. The aim is to encourage and support UK resident early career stage graduate engineers or scientists, typically within 10 years of starting their careers and who have personally produced an engineering innovation that arises from work undertaken after graduation from a UK university. The innovation must have demonstrated at least a prototype or proof of concept and there is an expectation that the technology will be developed commercially.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers Charitable Trust (the Engineers Trust) acknowledges excellence in engineering, supports engineering education and research, gives grants and assists in the relief of poverty.

Photo courtesy of Mark Witter Photography