Problem Addressed

Concrete is an essential building material, but cement remains one of the largest contributors to man-made carbon emissions. The production of cement accounts for 2.8 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions every year, or 4-8 percent of the world’s total man-made CO2 output, according to The Guardian.

Solution Overview

Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC) is a zero cement concrete proven at scale on construction projects. It can reduce embodied CO2 in concrete by up to 70%, which will significantly help to decarbonise the UK construction sector. It does this by eliminating the need for cement and using its own binder system instead, which also positively impacts the circular economy. EFC ultra-low carbon concrete technology meets and exceeds the performance specifications of ordinary concrete and delivers superior durability. EFC is available for ready-mix and precast concrete production.

Aside from the obvious benefits of eliminating up to 70% of embodied carbon in cement based concrete, it has been proven that early engagement with a project design team can also position EFC as a cost effective alternative to ordinary concrete. This is due to the superior performance and durability of EFC, which enables less concrete and steel reinforcement to be used for many applications.

An independent LCA has been conducted to compare EFC’s cement binder and concrete with typical regional cement blends and this can be found in their Product Carbon Footprint Declaration.

Case Study

EFC has already been used at scale and more than 80,000 m³ has been poured on construction projects across the world, including trials with major UK organisations such as HS2, National Highways, Network Rail and the Environment Agency.

Case Study: Bentonite Silo Spill (Raft Slab & Walls) @ HS2 Euston – Mace Dragados JV & John F Hunt

Engineering firm John F Hunt, working for HS2’s station construction partner Mace Dragados Joint Venture (JV), completed the 232m3 concrete pour in early September. EFC reduces the amount of carbon embedded into the concrete, saving over 76t of CO2 overall. It was supplied by Capital Concrete and has been used as a foundation slab that will support polymer silos used for future piling works at the north of the Euston Station site. The project was the largest single pour of EFC to date in the UK. While the foundation is temporary, it will be in use for two years, and historically would have been constructed with a more traditional cement-based concrete. This is a step forward in understanding how low carbon concrete can be used more widely in construction going forward.

EFC is made from a combination of ground granulated blast furnace slag, pulverised fly ash and a high-alkaline chemical, rather than Portland cement. Its geopolymer binder system reduces embodied carbon by around 70% saving 250kg of CO2 per cubic metre poured. The pour will help support HS2’s objective of net-zero construction by 2035 and achieve its goal of halving the amount of carbon in the construction of Britain’s new high speed rail line.

Facts and Figures

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