A young Malian develops green concrete

Eric Ky

It could be the material of the future. A 28-year-old Malian engineer, a doctoral student at the University of Ottawa in Canada, is developing an alternative to concrete, a product made from recycled objects, including plastic waste. An innovative construction solution, cheaper and less polluting.

It all started when Moussa Thiam was a student in Bamako. A waste transit depot was set up near his home: “The population did not like it at all and there were arguments. Our neighborhood did not want to be Bamako’s dumping ground. So I thought to myself: OK, waste is produced every day, why must that be a problem for us? “

The idea caught on. The engineer from Nioro du Sahel then imagines a new material, cheap and environmentally friendly: “In concrete, we have gravel, sand, water and cement. But we no longer use cement, which is really expensive in our countries there, and we use plastic waste, which comes back to us at almost zero francs. It is mixed with gravel and sand in an oven which is currently manual at a temperature of over 100 degrees. This gives us a homogeneous mixture which has roughly the characteristics of bitumen and which can have properties similar to cement-based concrete ”.

And the first tests give satisfactory results: “Not only for the construction of secondary roads, for paving houses, that is to say interior decoration, but also it allows us to make slabs as for concrete. cement-based ‘.

Research continues to extend it to other uses. For Moussa Thiam, for sure, it will be a small revolution. He already won first prize at the Next Einstein Forum, an international scientific gathering, last year.

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