Home » Marshalls unveils new carbon-capture tech and cement-free concrete

Marshalls unveils new carbon-capture tech and cement-free concrete

by Liam Turner
A plant growing out of a concrete pavement

Marshalls has shared details of two projects that it says will accelerate its sustainability plans.

The hard landscaping and building materials supplier has started using carbon-capture technology to permanently lock carbon in concrete.

It has also developed cement-free concrete, producing its first full-scale production run of cement-free concrete blocks toward the end of last year.

Carbon capture

Following announcements of a trial last summer, Marshalls has become the first precast concrete manufacturer in the UK to use CarbonCure technology, a process which permanently locks captured carbon into concrete.

The technology is being used on facing bricks manufactured at the Marshalls plant in Grove, South Wales, where around 50 million bricks are made each year.

The carbon is injected into the brick during the manufacturing process, with Marshalls attesting that doing so has no impact on the brick’s performance or appearance.

Marshalls is using its carbon-capture technology on the bricks it produces at its South Wales factory

Nick Jowett, technical director at Marshalls, said: “We’re continually testing and trialling product and manufacturing innovations, and to be able to introduce something which also has a sustainability benefit is a double win.

“Whilst our customers will see no difference in our products’ look and performance, we expect that, from this manufacturing site alone, we’ll prevent 30 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year.

“This is the equivalent of driving a family car nearly five and a half times around the world.”

CarbonCure’s carbon-capture process works by injecting CO2 directly into concrete as it is being mixed.

The CO2 immediately reacts with cement in the mix and mineralises to create calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

Once the CO2 is mineralised, it is permanently locked into the concrete — never to be released into the atmosphere, even if the concrete is demolished.

Cement-free concrete

Marshalls says it has also succeeded in developing cement-free concrete.

After working on the product “for some time”, late last year, the company produced its first full-scale production run of cement-free concrete blocks.

Michael Edwards, group head of Sustainability at Marshalls, said: “Cement can account for over 80% of the total carbon footprint of a concrete product, so it’s no surprise that customers have been asking for cement-free materials for a while.

“However, as a business known for its high-quality materials, we need to ensure that in removing the cement, we’re not compromising on the quality, appearance or longevity of our products – so we’re refining the materials and process before a full launch later in 2023.”

Louise Furness, chief people and ESG officer at Marshalls, said: “Our approach to sustainability is based on strong foundations, and we’re continually adapting how we work to reduce our environmental impact, from our fleet and energy choices to how we package our products.

“Our adoption of CarbonCure technology and advances into cement-free materials are helping us to accelerate plans and support our customers to deliver more sustainable projects and developments.”

Main image: namtipStudio/Shutterstock

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