Rethinking the Way We Build

Professor Kemal Celik, Director of the Advanced Materials and Building Efficiency Research Laboratory (AMBER Lab), has developed a method of using brine, a water desalination byproduct, to make cement in a process that requires significantly lower resources and energy than the conventional cement production process, while producing a similar quality product.

With more than 70 desalination facilities in the UAE alone, desalination provides water to millions, but this public good comes at an environmental cost. Along with all the fossil fuels needed to drive the process, the leftover waste of highly concentrated brine is discarded into one of the saltiest bodies of water on earth.

Using Celik’s method, the amount of magnesium-based cement that could be produced by the waste brine corresponds to approximately 23 percent of the cement production in the UAE and KSA. 

NYU Abu Dhabi's AMBER Lab, wins the Golden Lion for Best National Participation Venice Biennale with a magnesium-based cement sculpture.

In other words, generating a huge offset of the total cement production of GCC countries. This material based on Celik’s method was demonstrated in the UAE’s National Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.