Cement-free concrete pour marks step-change in tackling carbon emissions

13 May, 2021

BAM Nuttall successfully completed the UK’s largest single pour of an innovative new cement-free concrete on behalf of Network Rail at Chatham Station, Kent, this weekend.

The 300 cubic-metre continuous pour, which supports the foundation for a new step-free access at Chatham Station, is the first use of the product, Cemfree, on UK rail network. Production of Cemfree reduces carbon emissions by up to 80% in comparison to traditional cement-based concrete.

Use of Cemfree to deliver this project rather than traditional concrete, saved approximately 62 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere – the equivalent of 230,000 miles in an average-sized diesel car.

Huw Jones, BAM Nuttall Divisional Director, Rail said:

“On its own, traditional concrete production contributes 8% to global carbon emissions. That’s more than three times the output of the global aviation industry. That carbon footprint is largely due to the energy intensive methods that go into the production of cement, a vital component of traditional concrete.

“By working with Network Rail to gain product approval for this revolutionary product, we can continue to deliver our vital railway improvements with less impact of the environment. Seeing this product being used on site underlines our commitment to developing innovative sustainable solutions for Britain’s railway and I look forward to seeing other projects making use of it. It has the potential to make a huge contribution towards the reduction of carbon emissions across the construction industry.”

Sarah Borien, Head of Environment & Sustainability Network Rail: “This is a great example of how we are working with our supply chain to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to our common sustainability goals. At Network Rail Southern, our sustainability plan includes a number of environmental and social priorities – one of which is focused on finding sustainable alternatives to our common construction materials. Cemfree concrete has reduced our embodied carbon by 83% in this instance and shows how our capital projects can make simple changes as part of our journey to carbon net zero.”

Tony Sheridan, Group Commercial Manager from DB Group, owners of Cemfree said:

“This is our first major project associated with Network Rail and has demonstrated the ability to specify Cemfree on future schemes. The efforts made at the design stage to understand the material and therefore its ability to meet the requirements of the specification, has helped embed a process that will enable future Network Rail projects to drastically reduce their embodied carbon.

BAM is currently investigating further opportunities to make use of low cement and cement free product sites across the UK.

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