Heathrow Airport, the main international airport serving London, has begun new trials exploring the viability of lower carbon concrete, which has been said to cut emissions by 50% compared to conventional concrete. This initiative has followed Heathrow’s sponsorship of a PhD candidate at the University of Surrey who completed three years of lab work to reach this point. The trial has been designed to test the concrete’s durability and longevity in a true to life airport setting and is one of the first of its kind at any airport in the world.
As part of Heathrow’s sustainability strategy, the airport is committed to reducing emissions and become net-zero by 2050. Between 4-8% of global CO2 emissions come from concrete, Ecocem and Cemex’s innovative concrete solution has the potential to drastically reduce the carbon output of infrastructure projects at the airport.
“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.”
Nigel Milton, Chief of Staff and Carbon at Heathrow.
The goal for the trial and its finding is for the results to be used as a blueprint for other airports that are eager to reduce carbon from all stages of operation. This trial is the first of a number being planned that will test and trial other low carbon concrete materials on the market. The outcomes from these trials can be used to help reduce embedded carbon in a number of projects being delivered by Ferrovial Construction and Dyer & Butler at Heathrow.
“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 lower 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.”
Richard Kershaw, Technical Manager at Cemex.
The project will see four different applications trialled in a pouring site located close to a control tower and will be led by Jacobs and implemented by Cemex and Ecocem. The applications will replicate the typical airport infrastructure usage such as airfield pavements, encompassing runways and taxiways and will include reinforced pit cover slabs and other ancillary concrete types. It is critical that the new concrete undergoes meticulous testing to ensure its strength and durability due to Heathrow being one of the busiest airports in the world with aircraft taking off and landing close to every 45 seconds.
“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 to begin this trial.”
Mark Hill, UK National Sales Manager at Ecocem.
Image copyright © Heathrow Airports Limited