In Geoprime hollow-core slabs, instead of cement, the binder is mainly industrial side streams from nearby areas. Using side streams instead of cement saves natural resources and is cost-effective.
"This is an excellent example of our strategy we updated a year ago, where we seek scaling opportunities from large-scale volume products in the construction industry in emerging markets," says Ville Voipio, chief commercial officer at Betolar.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland supports Betolar's commercialisation project with its Finnpartnership business partnership grant, which amounts to €370,000. The support is part of the official development cooperation of the Finnish government. The company will also invest the same amount of equity in the project.
Finnpartnership Business Partnership Support aims to support Finnish companies in their goals of creating and developing new businesses and partnerships in emerging markets. The supported project aims to start a long-term and profitable business in emerging markets.
The Finnpartnership programme particularly supports creating sustainable and socially responsible jobs in developing countries.
Profitable business includes achieving lasting results in itself and thus effectively supports Finland's development policy objectives.
"At the turn of the year, our programme has been slightly reoriented, and upper-middle-income countries such as Malaysia have again been more clearly included. The use of Business Partnership Support in such countries requires direct development impacts, which is very clear in Betolar's case when switching to more environmentally friendly production," explains Nikke Karjalainen, grant financing manager at Finnpartnership.
The emerging economies in Asia are one of the focus areas of Betolar's growth strategy. Betolar has been developing low-carbon hollow-core slabs in Finland for a long time. The goal of the piloting in Malaysia is to create lasting solutions that can be scaled up in the construction sector and lower its environmental footprint over time.
"There is a great need for construction in Asian countries. Our low-carbon solutions help operators in the concrete industry and the entire construction value chain radically reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, we are strengthening circular economy solutions for the construction industry by utilising existing and new side stream materials found nearby," Voipio says.
Betolar has previously received a loan of approximately seven million euros from the State Climate Fund to develop a data platform. Last year, Business Finland granted €2.7 million in R&D support for Betolar's side stream research. This aid is also conditional on the company investing the same amount of equity.
"It is important that such subsidies allow us to reduce our risk in adopting new, environmentally friendly practices and opening up new markets. It promotes Finnish expertise in green technology and, in the long term, also benefits Finnish exports," Voipio describes.