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April 29, 2024

Scott Bros Pioneers Low-CEM Concrete for Sustainable Construction

Scott Bros Pioneers Low-CEM Concrete for Sustainable Construction

Teesside-based waste contractor Scott Bros is gearing up to produce low carbon concrete. This initiative, part of a larger effort to reduce the environmental impact of construction materials, is set to take place at their £6 million wash plant. The company has been collaborating with scientists from Teesside University to develop concrete mixes that significantly reduce the reliance on ordinary Portland cement (OPC).

Concrete, a cornerstone of modern construction, traditionally relies heavily on OPC, which is notorious for its substantial carbon footprint. The production of OPC involves the calcination of limestone (calcium carbonate), which releases large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). Consequently, the construction industry has been under increasing pressure to find more environmentally friendly alternatives.

The Innovation: Low-CEM Concrete

Scott Bros’ innovative approach seeks to address this challenge by integrating a fine-grained clay, known as filter cake, into their concrete mixes. Filter cake is a waste by-product generated from their two recycling yards, where construction and demolition waste is processed into sand and aggregate. By utilising this by-product, Scott Bros aims not only to reduce the amount of OPC used in concrete but also to find a practical application for a material that would otherwise contribute to landfill.

The development of low-CEM concrete has been a collaborative effort with Teesside University’s scientists, who have conducted a series of trials to optimise the concrete mixes. These trials have been essential in determining the maximum feasible reduction in OPC content while maintaining the concrete’s structural integrity and performance.

The Benefits of Low-CEM Concrete

The benefits of this innovative concrete are manifold:

  1. Reduced Carbon Emissions: By decreasing the reliance on OPC, the carbon emissions associated with concrete production can be significantly lowered.
  2. Waste Reduction: The utilisation of filter cake helps in minimising waste sent to landfills, addressing a critical environmental concern.
  3. Resource Efficiency: The initiative promotes the efficient use of available resources, aligning with the principles of a circular economy.

The installation of the necessary machinery at Scott Bros’ wash plant marks a significant milestone in the production of low-CEM concrete. Once operational, this plant will not only contribute to more sustainable construction practices but also set a precedent for other companies in the industry.

Scott Bros’ efforts to produce low-CEM concrete highlight a critical shift towards sustainability in construction materials. By collaborating with Teesside University and utilising waste by-products, the company is making significant strides in reducing the environmental impact of concrete.

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