Aramco, American Concrete Institute in Pact To Develop Nonmetallic Materials

Duo launches center of excellence aimed at promoting and expanding nonmetallic materials’ role in construction.

The ACI headquarters in Farmington Hills, Michigan, will also be home base for the NEx venture.

Aramco and the American Concrete Institute (ACI) have launched a center of excellence for nonmetallic materials to develop and promote the use of nonmetallic materials in the building and construction sector. Dubbed NEx, the venture will be based at ACI headquarters in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and will leverage ACI’s role as an authority and resource for the development, dissemination, and adoption of consensus-based standards for concrete design, construction, and materials.

Aramco is a leader in the use of nonmetallic materials in oil and gas facilities to reduce corrosion, weight, and the cost of construction and operation. The initiative with ACI is part of the company’s broader strategy to enter new markets, leveraging its hydrocarbon resources and technology to deliver advanced polymeric materials solutions across industries.

The operator has laid over 6,000 miles of nonmetallic pipelines and integrated the use of a glass-fiber-reinforced polymer rebar in place of conventional steel in the construction of a flood mitigation channel at one of its refineries in Saudi Arabia.

“Aramco has been developing and deploying nonmetallic solutions within our own operations for more than 20 years as they offer superior life cycle cost, efficiency, and environmental advantages over their metal alternatives,” said Ahmad Al-Sa’adi, Aramco senior vice president of technical services. “The potential for using nonmetallic advanced polymeric materials, however, goes way beyond the oil and gas sector and includes the building and construction industries where there is significant potential.”

This the second announced venture exploring the expanded use of nonmetallics for Aramco in the past 6 months. The operator and Baker Hughes launched a joint venture dubbed Novel in late 2020 to explore producing pipe from reinforced thermoplastic.

NEx is a 501c3 nonprofit and a wholly owned subsidiary of ACI. The center’s initial activities will focus on the use of nonmetallic materials and products in concrete.

NEx plans to expand its scope to include the use of nonmetallics in other construction materials, such as composite cladding, asphalt, and soil. The center looks to draw additional partners from leading academic institutions, industries, technical societies, standard bodies, manufacturers, and professionals.