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Besser teams with developer of ‘bio-enhanced concrete’ on production technology

Sources: Besser Co., Alpena, Mich.; CP staff

Besser and Tel Aviv-based ECOncrete Tech Ltd. aim to develop a high production dry cast system in which proprietary additives and mix designs yield bio-enhanced concrete products. Research has demonstrated that concrete bearing ECOncrete’s mix technology can reduce the ecological footprint of urban and coastal infrastructure and mitigate climate change impacts.

Besser and ECOncrete will market and promote products jointly. ECOncrete has several successful wet cast products available and in use today and, through the collaboration with Besser, will apply its technology to dry cast methods. Besser staff will engineer, test, and manufacture molds and concrete products that satisfy unit specifications defined by ECOncrete.

“The project is a perfect fit for our two companies,” says Besser President and CEO Kevin Curtis. “Besser has an excellent track record for making a concept a reality by designing, testing and demonstrating how concrete products can be manufactured on a large scale, commercially viable manner.”

ECOncrete’s road to Besser traveled through Alpena Community College, whose president, Dr. Don MacMaster, attended a presentation by ECOncrete CEO Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel. At Dr. MacMaster’s invitation, Dr. Perkol-Finkel visited the college and its World Center for Concrete Technology. ECOncrete commenced a year-long pilot study in Alpena in collaboration with the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary. A year later, company executives mapped a project geared to dry cast production, and enlisted Alpena and Tel Aviv staff to prepare a grant request for Israel – U.S. Binational Industrial Research & Development Foundation (BIRD) consideration.

BIRD funds select projects involving U.S. and Israeli companies in a wide range of technology sectors, and approved the Besser–ECOncrete proposal in December. In a nod to the team behind the foundation grant, Dr. MacMaster notes, "It's indicative of the innovative spirit that characterizes both organizations,” adding that the project “will bring world-class Israeli innovation and U.S. manufacturing expertise together in a dynamic partnership to mitigate global climate change.”

Besser Director of Operations – Pipe & Precast Ryan Suszek is leading the joint project with support from colleagues Jason Rensberry, controller; Scott Foerstner, chief financial officer; and Tim Farley, director of Engineering.