Construction Industry Environmental Improvements

AuthorLinda Bruce
Posting date: 11 June 2019

100,000 tonnes of waste ash could be saved from entering landfill each year due to progressive research into a sustainable initiative set to have a positive effect on the construction industry.

According to Insider, Heat treatment experts at the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) were commissioned by Enva to carry out a variety of furnace trials to “determine the most suitable time and temperature needed to produce to produce reliable concrete” The results were then made into small pellets.

These small pellets were produced from a mix of waste ash, cement and water, creating a reliable material that can be utilized across multiple engineering jobs. Strath, reveal that “A non-contact infrared thermometer monitored temperature uniformity across the batch of pellets throughout the heat treatment process and provided additional information on the optimum temperature required.” This is to maintain consistency in the batch to ensure that all pellets are pliable and of the optimum strength to be fit for use.

Scottish Construction Now explains that Enva “collects ash from waste and biomass plants, most of which goes to landfill as waste.” Investigations then began to determine the possibility in which this waste could be implemented into a product used within construction. Scott Newport, technical manager at Enva, said: “The research carried out by the AFRC helped us understand more about the behaviour and performance of the ash, allowing us to take our first steps in exploring how we can best utilise this product, which was previously scrapped as waste. The practical applications of the research involved in ash recycling could improve the environmental impact of many industries, as well as providing economic benefits.

Economically, waste ash can be significantly reduced by organisations, providing the potential for some industries to produce their own materials by recycling their waste to create an alternative product. This can save a substantial amount of money, and also provides the opportunity for other organisations to sell their waste for recycling purposes. Environmentally, a dramatic amount of waste ash can avoid entering land fill sites, reducing the environmental impact of organisations and industries as a whole. To combine waste material to form concrete, can mean that current production methods can be altered to include this concept, reducing the amount of material that is being constructed. Reliability of material can also be improved through using an ash component. The trials of the experiment confirmed that the concrete product strength was increased by using an ash component. This can enhance the capability of concrete, offering more secure products to use within infrastructure and construction projects.

 Jennifer Smart, business relationship manager at the CSIC who provided funding to the project, said: “This could have a significant impact on the supply chain, creating new jobs and new markets and lead to further expansion of the business operation.” Recruitment opportunities within this field could be available and could provide new disciplines within the construction industry.

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