Green Potential in Blue Building Materials

New Handbook: Maritime Building Materials Can Reduce CO2 Footprint and Alleviate the Marine Environment

Publiceret 15-05-2024

The newly released publication “Marine Biobased Building Materials” assesses the development of regenerative maritime building materials and highlights the challenges that may exist for commercial adoption. It also showcases how materials like algae, seagrass, and reeds offer significant growth potential to support the green transition of the Nordic construction sector.

front page: Marine Biobased Building Materials

With resource consumption expected to double by 2060 and current CO2 emissions from construction being a large contributor to the world’s total, effective measures are necessary to minimise the environmental and climate impact from construction.

Marine building materials, derived from sources such as algae, reed beds, chitin, and seagrasses, hold enormous potential. If produced in large volumes with a low CO2 footprint, they could replace existing, highly carbon-intensive materials, especially concrete.

Circular Construction Strategies

As part of work package 2 “Circular Business Models and Procurement” Nordic Innovation and Arup have developed a technical playbook and report that identifies ways to incorporate these materials in the built environment, outlining the potential environmental impact and policy obstacles, and considering their large scale integration into the construction industry.

New Wave of Building Materials

Gentle extraction methods for these materials could also have a positive environmental impact, such as reducing nitrogen levels in Danish fjords and coastal waters. These blue building materials represent a potential breakthrough if they can become a viable commercial venture.

“We hope that this technical handbook, featuring examples of marine biobased building materials, will inspire the construction sector to explore the possibilities of using marine biobased materials to become greener. We call it a guide and handbook, and I am confident it will provide inspiration and new ideas for Nordic decision-makers, planners, and researchers. It offers a solid knowledge base and guidance for applying and utilizing these materials to achieve a more sustainable construction sector.” Rasmus Malmborg, Nordic Innovation, project lead in work package 2.

Read the report "Marine Biobased Building Materials" here


The technical handbook serves as a professional guide for decision-makers across the Nordic countries. It includes a catalog of existing marine-based biomaterials available in the Nordic market and provides insights into their applications in the built environment, including scalability.