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Carbon Trust issues low carbon innovation challenge to aggregates industry

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

The Carbon Trust is offering aggregates industry partners funding of up to £250,000 in a collaborative programme of research, development and demonstration that will accelerate uptake of new low carbon technologies, it was recently announced
As part of its Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA), the Carbon Trust has worked with key players in the sector to analyse the potential for new technologies and processes that will reduce energy use, save costs and cut carbon emissions.
Four key innovation challenges have been identified:
– Accelerating the development of a market for lower temperature mixed asphalt that could save 80% of the energy required for traditional hot asphalt mix.
– Implementing heat recovery for preheating combustion air systems.
– Implementing advanced burner control on asphalt plant.
– Evaluating new low carbon vehicles versus conventional in-quarry vehicles.
Up to £250,000 is available to companies or consortia prepared to undertake research or development work in these specific challenge areas and help drive a step-change in the industry’s carbon reduction. Consortia could include asphalt manufacturers, burner specialists, accreditation companies, bitumen suppliers, asphalt customers, transport or vehicle companies and universities. Proposals for funding are required by 6th November 2009.
Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Innovations at the Carbon Trust, said:
“Our research shows there are specific processes in the aggregates sector where we can have a huge impact on improving efficiency. The industry currently has a carbon footprint of 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 per annum accounting for about 1.7% of UK industry carbon emissions. Within this, transport alone accounts for 35% of CO2 emissions in the sector and asphalt production is responsible for some 25%.
“We are funding new activities to prove the business case for investing in technologies and processes that help reduce these emissions. With aggregate suppliers coming under growing pressure to meet the stringent environmental standards of local government, central government and Highway Authority clients this will have a real impact on the long-term sustainability of the industry. It is also an opportunity for companies to unlock major cost savings.”
The Carbon Trust already works with a broad range of companies in the aggregates sector helping them to manage their carbon emissions. It recently launched a carbon-reduction strategy aimed at enabling the industry to cut its carbon footprint by 20% – a move expected to cut some £45million a year from the industry’s energy bills. The strategy has been welcomed by the top five companies in the sector – Tarmac, Lafarge, Cemex, Aggregate Industries and Hanson – which together account for 80% of the UK industry’s output as well as trade bodies the Minerals Planning Association and British Aggregates Association.
The Carbon Trust is now embarking on an engagement programme with the 200+ other businesses in the sector to communicate the financial benefits of carbon reduction and encourage them to use the strategy to formulate their own carbon reduction plans.
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