The HS2 project continues to deliver major innovation for construction methods within the rail sector, with the new Euston station undertaking the largest pour of Friendly Concrete (EFC) that the UK has ever seen. The EFC is integral to decarbonising the construction process as it acts as a material that reduces the amount of carbon embedded into the concrete, saving over 76 tonnes of CO2 overall.
The 232 m3 concrete pour was completed in early September through the work of John F Hunt, working for HS2’s station Construction Partner, Mace Dragados joint venture. The EFC product has been used to create the foundation slab, which will support the polymer silos for future piling works at the north of the Euston station site.
Though this foundation is temporary, it will see two years’ worth of usage, whilst also acting as a step towards environmentally sustainable products that cane be used for future construction works. Where there are current ambitions to achieve net-zero construction by 2035, this method should be emulated in further projects where possible. Through innovative solutions like this, HS2 is progressing towards its goal of halving the amount of carbon in the construction of Britain’s new high speed rail line.
Mark Fenton, Carbon Manager at HS2 Ltd, who recently spoke at TransCityRail South, said:
“HS2 is at the forefront of adopting new technologies to reduce the environmental impacts of construction and is on its way to achieving a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to traditional construction methods. Whilst there have been a lot of examples of using low carbon concrete across the project, the scale of its use at Euston station is a huge step forward in us understanding how it can be used more widely in construction going forward, reducing environmental impact for generations to come.”
The EFC is made using a combination of ground granulated blast furnace slag, pulverised fly ash and a high-alkaline chemical, rather than Portland cement. Its geopolymer binder system reduces embodied carbon by around 70% saving 250kg of CO2 per cubic metre poured.
Ben Wheeldon, Programme Director, Mace Dragados Joint Venture said:
“This largest ever UK pour of earth friendly concrete is symbolic of the ambition we have at Euston to get our carbon emissions down at every possible opportunity. This project is a hotbed for innovation, not just in the decarbonisation space, but generally, and we’re making sure of that by bringing on board the right supply chain partners and encouraging them to be bold with their solutions.”
The application of the EFC has been accompanied with innovation through usage of 20-yard skips instead of the standard concrete thrust blocks for the temporary works design during the process to remove a retaining wall. Through the integration of these for the construction period, 30 tonnes of CO2 were saved during the project, mirroring the 29 tonnes saved through the use of GreenD+ Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) for all site vehicles instead of diesel.
HS2 continue to be industry leaders regarding environmentally sustainable construction methods, setting sector standards that could initiate progressive project delivery in not just the rail sector, but across Britain.
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