Dr Alalea Kia Wins Young Engineer of the Year her Kiacrete Invention


Alalea Kim, winner of 2024 Young Engineer of the Year Award for Kiacrete at Deparment of Civil and Environmental Engineering Imperial College London

Dr Alalea Kia wins 2024 Young Engineer of the Year award for permeable concrete pavement 'Kiacrete', which helps adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Dr Alalea Kia, Advanced Research Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has won the Royal Academy of Engineering Young Engineer of the Year Award. Dr Kia, who leads the Department's Resilient Sustainable Infrastructure Group, receives these awards for developing a permeable concrete pavement that can help soak up flood water. The pavement, called Kiacrete, will help to alleviate climate change and urbanisation challenges by absorbing stormwater, mitigating the devastating impact of urban flooding.  

She has also received the prestigious Sir George Macfarlane Medal, making her the overall winner for 2024. She was one of five Young Engineers of the Year, each winning a prize of £3,000. The Young Engineer of the Award recognises the incredible contributions of researchers and experts to their respective fields of engineering.  

Dr Kia said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been selected for the Royal Academy of Engineering Sir George Macfarlane Medal winner and a 2024 Young Engineer of the Year award. These awards provide credibility and recognition for my career and research, and help to raise the profile of early career female engineers. They also highlight the importance of the climate emergency and the urgent need to develop climate change resilient infrastructure for a more sustainable future.”

Urban flooding can take place after rainfall, when water builds up on an impermeable ground like traditional concrete roads. Kiacrete, however, has an engineered pore structure that absorbs flood water. Thanks to this pore structure, Kiacrete significantly reduces the amount of cementitious material used in concrete pavements.  By using less materials, and employing recycled materials, this results in a saving of at least 23 tonnes of CO2 per km for a single carriageway road. Kiacrete therefore helps both to adapt to and mitigate climate change.  

Kiacrete has the potential to be used across the built environment, from footpaths to airports, to reduce standing water, improve transport safety and help achieve net zero carbon emissions.  Dr Kia has secured in excess of £3 million in funding to further develop her pavement technology.  Infrastructure operators, engineering consultancies, contractors and suppliers are actively exploring the adoption of the pavement technology.  


Sigourney Luz

Sigourney Luz
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Environment, Engineering-Materials, Climate-change, Net-Zero, Engineering-Civil-Eng, Research
See more tags