Ecocem, Europe’s leading independent provider of low carbon cement technology solutions for the cement and construction industries, has partnered with the UK’s largest and busiest airport to trial the applicability of novel lower carbon concretes at the airport, aiming to reduce embodied carbon compared to conventional mixes.
In 2019, Heathrow commissioned the Building Research Establishment to review construction materials to reduce emissions and as such Ecocem and global building materials supplier Cemex were selected as viable partners to supply a lower-carbon binder.
Initially, two low carbon solutions will be tested: a Pavement Quality Concrete (PQC) equivalent mix containing 50% Ecocem GGBS, and Ecocem Ultra – a lower carbon binder. Following extensive laboratory testing of the resulting concrete, led by Cemex, this week the partners conducted the first on-site trial pour under the watch tower. This is part of a phased process to test its strength and durability in the field. Ecocem Ultra will be assessed for use in main airport areas, groundworks and auxiliary purposes with a common goal of both companies to provide viability of low carbon products for everyday concrete applications. With this project, Ecocem, Heathrow and Cemex, aim to demonstrate the viability of low carbon products, and tangibly reduce carbon emissions from construction at airports.
In order to reach its net zero aviation by targets by 2050, Heathrow is looking to cut at least 45% of on-the-ground carbon emissions by 2030. Working with Ecocem and Cemex on this project enables Heathrow to continue to lead the charge in advocacy and change on reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. Demonstrating that its products and technologies can be applied to large-scale infrastructure projects isn’t new to Ecocem. At present it is providing low carbon binder for use in concrete on the HS2 project in the UK and for the Metro extension project in Paris, connecting the city to its neighbouring areas.
Mark Till, UK National Sales Manager at Ecocem said: “Our technical solutions have long helped large-scale infrastructure projects to reduce carbon emissions across Europe. Having the opportunity to partner with Heathrow airport on a project with huge potential in the UK and for the aviation sector, is a testament to the innovation of our products and team. We look forward to working with Heathrow and our other partners on these important trials.”
Nigel Milton, Chief of Staff and Carbon at Heathrow said: “Heathrow is once again serving as a testbed for ground-breaking technologies, demonstrating global leadership with regards to sustainable travel. We’re committed to cutting carbon emissions on the ground as well as in the air and we’re delighted to be hosting one of the first airport trials in the world to test lower carbon alternatives. I hope that this trial will help radically transform the built environment at Heathrow in the years to come.”
Richard Kershaw, Technical Manager at Cemex said: “Cemex is renowned across the construction industry for its commitment to providing customers with more sustainable concrete solutions. We were the first supplier in the UK to launch a net-zero concrete product, making us ideally situated to support Heathrow with their low carbon concrete trial. We hope this trial will prove successful and demonstrate to the aviation sector the opportunities available to cut emissions during their development projects.”
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