For many in the world of concrete, the process of trying something new can be daunting. Like an artist setting out to paint, innovators in this sector do not know if they will create a masterpiece or a failure. Thankfully however, many keen entrepreneurs forge forward regardless, believing for the best and enjoying the development and learning process just as much as the end product.
Continuous Research and Development by Concrete Producers
Since the introduction of Portland Cement (PC) based concrete over 200 years ago, research and development (R&D) in this sector has been continuous. Improvements have been made, and alternatives introduced. New blends have been introduced to the standards which allow specifiers more freedom to try something different. There have been improvements in the fast setting cements and mortars throughout the UK making it a saturated market. New supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) have been introduced which improve the strength characteristic of the concrete and help fight against the effects of sulfate attack. Even in the robust world of concrete, research into the effects of graphene as network modifiers continues.
However, with increasing social pressure being focused on our impact on the planet, companies throughout the world are investigating more eco-friendly alternatives. Until recently, concrete had managed to sail virtually undetected in the greenhouse gas production watch list. Despite being the second most consumed product, and the most consumed man-made product in the world, the general public were left unaware of concrete’s carbon footprint. With an estimated worldwide production rate of around 3 tonnes of concrete per person every year, and concrete producing in the region of 1 tonne of CO2 for every tonne produced, the global CO2 emissions of concrete industry are in excess of 20,000,000,000 tonnes. This represents close to 8% of global CO2 emissions.
With this knowledge becoming more widespread, many of the world’s largest concrete producers, and some smaller enterprises, have begun researching solutions. With the aim of reducing the CO2 production, many companies have improved the manufacturing efficiency, reducing the CO2 production by up to 8%. For many however, this does not go far enough, leading to some masterpieces which have not yet made it into the mainstream. Innovative new products such as geopolymers and alkali activated cements have been used as a complete replacement of PC in projects around the world, reducing the CO2 production by up to 90%. SCMs such as ground granulated blast furnace slag and calcined clays can also help reduce the CO2 footprint of concrete by up to 80%. Some PC replacements even absorb and capture CO2.
R&D Tax Credits
The commonality of these innovations is that they require huge time and money expenditure. This is often the reason why these masterpieces never make it out from the artist’s studio. However, if you are based in the UK or ROI, there is help at hand. Here at Ian Farley we can assist your company in obtaining an R&D tax relief incentive.
- Are you introducing new materials or creating a novel product?
- Are you using existing materials but in a new or novel way?
- Are you trying to improve sustainability and reduce your carbon footprint?
- Are you trying to introduce new technical solutions to automate your processes?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may qualify for R&D tax credits – which can generate significant tax benefits.
Tax Benefits and Savings
Currently, for every £1 of qualifying R&D expenditure, a small to medium sized company (SME) based in the UK can save 24.7p of corporation tax. Or if it does not have a corporation tax liability, it can cash losses in and receive a cash payment from HMRC at a rate of 14.5%. Large companies in the UK can also claim R&D tax credits, as can companies registered in the Republic of Ireland.
You can also potentially benefit from corporation tax savings if you have a patented invention, under Patent Box legislation in the UK. There is also the Knowledge Development Box legislation in the ROI.
The benefits are there to be claimed, although the rules relating to these tax incentives are complex and require specialist advice. This is where we can help you – whether you are based in the UK or Ireland.
To find out more, please call Ian Farley on 07752 386 484 or email email@example.com to arrange a no-obligation discussion.
PS – I’m Andrew Blackstock, one of Ian’s team, and I have a background in cement. As part of an academic / industry research team, I spent eight years developing geopolymer binder systems and calcined clay based SCMs. That role involved liaising between the factory, laboratory and customers to create bespoke high-quality products. I was responsible for experiment and mix design, data analysis and the design and implementation of new quality processes.