City of Greater Geelong: Age defying bridges for a clever and creative city

Made in Geelong, highly sustainable carbon fibre reinforced bridges could one day become commonplace thanks to a successful City of Greater Geelong initiative, and the first Procurement for Innovation project to be successfully tendered in Australia.

To encourage sustainable innovation in line with its community-led clever and creative vision, the City, with support from Cleantech Innovations Geelong, tendered for a 100-year maintenance free pedestrian bridge in 2017. The tender invited companies to come up with solutions to the costly maintenance problem associated with traditional bridges – usually made of timber, steel or concrete – which cost the City around $500,000 to inspect, repair, maintain and replace each year.

The winning submission came from a consortium including local manufacturer Austeng, Deakin’s cutting-edge Waurn Ponds Carbon Nexus facility and Australian engineering company Rocla. The consortium researched and developed an innovative new building product made from geopolymer, including some recycled materials, and reinforced with carbon fibre, which will be stronger and longer lasting than existing products.

The tender was the first in Australia to be offered using a Procurement for Innovation process, which aims to encourage the development and viability of clean technology – economically viable products that harness renewable materials and energy sources while reducing emissions and waste – using the substantial buying power of public sector procurement.

David Peart, Chief Executive Officer – Geelong Manufacturing Council, Co-Chair – Cleantech Innovations Geelong:

“Using public sector buying power will help transition our solid manufacturing and engineering base in Geelong to new innovations. This project will result in new jobs. Geelong designed and made, it doesn’t get better than that.”

Ross George, Managing Director and Director, Austeng:

“Procurement for Innovation is one of the game-changing services provided by Cleantech Innovations Geelong. It was the catalyst for our company to collaborate with others to combine our expertise and to bring a new product to market – in fact, a world first.  The new material will potentially eliminate ‘concrete cancer’ going forward and provide a new and disruptive approach that will have wide application in the construction industry generally.”

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