Carp-Crete Background

Carp-Crete” is a concrete which uses Asian carp fishmeal (the burned remains of the carp) as an admixture. The core principle behind the development of Carp-Crete stems from attempting to find a beneficial use for a waste product in a civil engineering application. Specifically, the goal was to show the fishmeal could exhibit strength improving cementitious properties when added to a concrete mix. If the fishmeal did exhibit cementitious properties, then it may be possible to incentivize the harvesting of Asian carp and the production of fishmeal from them. The benefit of this would be three-fold.

Primarily, incentivizing the fish would create a market for them which currently doesn’t exist. The carp exist in such great numbers that they are being pulled up anyway, despite the species fishermen are targeting. With an increased value, at least the commercial fishermen would be able to get a greater rate for the fish. Furthermore, the increased value for the species would encourage commercial fishermen to actively fish for them.

The second benefit is a by-product of the first. Added value provides a reason for fishermen to actively target the carp. Due to the aforementioned destruction Asian carp bring with them to ecosystems they invade, it would be ideal to completely eradicate the carp. The end result of this would be substantial ecosystem restoration for native fish species, as well as a boon for the sectors of the commercial fishing industry which target these oppressed species.

The third and final benefit would be the discovery of a new type of admixture. It would certainly have its own material properties which would be explored with research. Additionally, it could provide alternative options to some admixtures which have proven to be harmful to humans. An example would be fly ash, which inherently contains heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury. Ingestion of these toxicants can cause cancer, nervous system damage and organ diseases. Toxicity aside, fishmeal as an alternative for cementitious admixtures could play a vital role as suitable replacement during shortages of materials such as fly ash and slag.