The Green Optimistic
Reinforcing bars or rebars are necessary to keep our structures up. Engineers usually use steel rebars because of cost, but some have explored the use of fiber rebars. If you’ve seen some exposed rebars at seaside structures, you will understand why. Steel rebars rust, hence compromising the home, or even wharf that they are trying to reinforce. While fiber rebars have been around for decades, their use hasn’t caught up because of their cost. Well, that is until now.
Neuvokas Corporation, a Cleantech Open finalist, has started making FRP rebar using volcanic rock basalt. The Calumet, Michigan based manufacturer blends fiber and their proprietary resin at high speeds. The result is a lightweight basalt fiber-reinforced rebar that costs just as much as steel rebars. If a new construction boom comes along, they may even end up cheaper. It is not only stronger than steel, it also resists alkaline and acidic deterioration, and could be deployed in salty environments. Not only that, it could also tolerate more abrasion than their steel counterparts. And since it’s made of lava rock, it naturally holds up in high temperatures.