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Sydney Civil delivers world first Green Roads trial for City of Sydney Council & UNSW Engineering

The City of Sydney puts environmentally friendly concrete to the test.

The City of Sydney Council reported recently that they have trialled a new geopolymer material on a major road near Sydney Airport.

In the first trial of its kind, industrial waste from coal-fired power stations and steel manufacturing has been given a new lease on life. Made from fly ash and blast furnace slag, the geopolymer concrete is a sustainable blend of concrete and recycled materials.

This new geopolymer generates just 300kgs of CO2 per tonne of cement, compared to 900kgs from traditional cement production. The carbon emissions savings is equivalent to the electricity used by an average household every 2 weeks.

With 70% of the concrete produced today going into pavements and footpaths, using products like geopolymer concrete for our roads and footpaths has great potential to lower emissions.

TESTING TO ENSURE OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE

Working with researchers from the University of NSW, Sydney Civil in conjunction with the City of Sydney Council has replaced a section of roadway on Wyndham Street in Alexandria to test the green concrete’s durability.

A major road leading to Sydney Airport, Wyndham Street has a high traffic volume which provides the perfect conditions for the trial. Nine sensors have been positioned under the concrete to monitor and compare how the geopolymer concrete performs.

University of NSW researchers and the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living will use results from the trial to create the first set of industry guidelines for geopolymer concrete.

CREATING A MARKET FOR COAL & STEEL WASTE

Research has been undertaken since the 1990s, but it’s only now this concrete blend is being explored as a product that is not only better for the environment, but also commercially viable. The low CO2 concrete has the potential to put the 400 million cubic tonnes of globally documented waste from the coal and steel industries to good use. While a small amount is currently used in construction, much of it is currently stored on site.

The road’s vital statistics will be monitored for around 5 years, however, a lot of the data collected in the first 3 to 12 months of this world-first trial will be used to confirm scientific models and strengthen the UNSW engineer’s predictions.

Professor Stephen Foster, head of UNSW’s school of civil and environmental engineering, is the project lead. He describes the trial as a huge step forward.

“Concrete contributes 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions and in 2018 the world produced about 4.1 billion tonnes of cement, which contributed about 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2. Alternative, low CO2 concrete materials offer potential benefits in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional concrete. This trial is important because we need demonstration projects to accurately assess the performance of geopolymer over time so that there can be broader uptake,” said Stephen.

Armorzone Water Filled Barrier

The Armorzone water filled road barrier is designed for use on temporary work sites, and also to protect workers engaging in roadside maintenance. This water filled temporary barrier is easy to transport and fast to deploy. Installation by two operators is effortless, and once filled, it creates a durable barricade.

These water filled barriers are connected using a steel pin connector. Once connected, the barriers can be filled with up to 440 litres of water. However, when empty, they are very easy to manoeuvre, weighing just 56kg. A freight-friendly design helps to reduce shipping costs.

The MASH tested Armorzone provides up to 70kph work zone barrier protection.

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