Reduce energy costs and environmental impact in the manufacture of pre-cast concrete products by optimising the concrete design
This project aimed at reducing energy costs and environmental impact whilst also increasing the profit in the manufacture of pre-cast concrete products.
This was achieved by optimising concrete design, testing and manufacturing processes. The company had a high dependency on concrete from outside sources. To improve efficiency and lower costs, it needed to design and manufacture lower energy and consistent concrete. The company could not enter into new markets until it could manufacture high quality concrete which minimised energy use and maximised profit. The company recognised the opportunity to develop in-house testing facilities and high performance/low energy concrete, to optimise and test locally sourced aggregates and to assess the environment to enable daily adaptation of the batching/ production methods to promote reduced energy demand, thus creating more sustainable products. For example, cement represented 98% of the CO2 in Bullivant’s pre-cast concrete; hence a saving of 10kg of cement per cubic metre of concrete production represented a CO2 reduction and cost savings of approximately £30k/year (compared to current costs). There is also a reduction in the pollution associated with cement production.
Impact of Research
The major impacts were.
- Development of low energy, self-compacting concrete (SCC) from locally sourced materials and in accordance with requirements of the new EU standards
- SCC removed the need for external vibration, reduced energy use, eliminated noise, reduced labour demand, the quality surface finish and increased durability
- Development of innovative patented products namely: structurally efficient vaulted floor and patented piling joint
- Cost of production reduced by 25%, energy reduction by 30% + and reduction in cement/ replacement with waste materials which lowered CO2 emissions
- Increased market share with regards to precast piling, including the expanding renewables market such as Carrowleagh Windfarm
- Extension of product portfolio, e.g. novel vaulted floor system with increased weight strength
- New markets entered in UK and Ireland including winning Ireland's largest ever underpinning contract
Sonebi, M., Morton, R., Taylor, SE. “Modelling the Engineering Performance of Self-Compacting Concrete to Produce Precast Piles”, International conference on Numerical Modelling Strategies for Sustainable Concrete Structures, Aix-en-Provence, France, 29-31 June 2012, CD 8p.
Sonebi, M, Taengua, E., Taylor, S., Morton, R., Flack, M., Miallet, G. “Flexural response of Pre-stressed vaulted slabs cast with SCC”, 3rd Int. Symposium on Design, Performance and use of SCC, Ed. C. Shi, Z., Ou, K. Khayat, Xiamen, China, 5-8 June 2014, pp. 311-321.
Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact
Find out more
Keywords associated with the Research
- Self-compacting concrete, low carbon foot print, improvement of working environment, rheology, waste materials
Further relevant info
ECR – Dr M, Taengua, QUB
Flack, M., University of Auvergne, Clermont, France
Miallet, G., University of Auvergne, Clermont, France
Best UK KTP Partnership 2013
Pictured above are (L-R): Phil Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Cisco UK & Ireland; Dr Mohamed Sonebi, Queen’s; Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise; Richard Morton, KTP Associate at Bullivant Taranto Ltd; Simon Bullivant, Director of Bullivant Taranto Ltd; Niall Woods, Bullivant Taranto Ltd; Professor Su Taylor, Queen’s