Aecon pilots low carbon concrete

15 June 2022

Aecon has become the first construction company in Ontario to pilot a new low-carbon concrete from carbon upcycling technologies.

Demonstrated at the company’s Innovation and Training Centre, the low carbon concrete supports Aecon’s target to achieve a 30% reduction in direct CO2 emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.

“We made significant progress toward achieving our ambitious GHG emissions targets in 2021 – achieving a 15% reduction across our operations – and this pilot further underscores the momentum of our sustainability program as we lead the industry in pursuing the most innovative methods and technologies associated with sustainable construction,” said Aecon president and CEO Jean-Louis Servranckx.

Carbon upcycling enables the production of low carbon concrete by creating CO2-embedded cement and concrete additives, also known as a supplementary cementitious material (SCM). During the upcycling process, CO2 is permanently captured into the SCM, and when used in concrete, the CO2-embedded SCMs reduce the embodied emissions by up to 30% while exceeding strength activity performance by up to 40%.

“Concrete is among the most widely used construction materials and completing this trial is an important progression in evaluating our low carbon alternatives to reduce embodied carbon and transition to a net-zero economy,” said chief sustainability officer and chief legal officer Yonni Fushman. “Our team was impressed to see greater durability in comparison to other SCM options.”

The pilot was conducted at Aecon’s Innovation and Training Centre in Holland Landing, Ontario, which enables teams to trial the latest technology and process improvements before implementing them across the company’s operations.

• In April this year the International Tunnelling Association (ITA) launched an activity group to focus on low-carbon concrete linings for shafts and tunnels.

The ITA says that 60-70% of a tunnelling project’s embodied carbon is contained in the concrete linings of the shafts and tunnels.

“There is a great challenge for the coming years to develop a solution for low-carbon lining and an opportunity for ITAtech to provide a guideline/recommendation for the market,” the ITA says.