Denmark’s leading concrete manufacturer IBF has reduced more than 50% of the CO2 emissions from concrete pipes by dropping cement by using Betolar’s Geoprime® innovation. Aarhus Vand is the first customer of climate-friendly pipes, which can directly replace traditional concrete pipes.
The Danish concrete producer IBF A/S is now launching a climate-friendly innovation for builders and contractors in the form of concrete pipes. The pipes are based on Betolar’s Geoprime® solution and are manufactured completely without cement. The pipes more than halve the CO2 footprint compared to ordinary concrete pipes, and the result has been achieved without compromising on strength, dimensions, or resistance to wear or leaching of harmful substances from the pipes.
The first customer for the cement-free concrete pipes is the utility company Aarhus Vand A/S, which supplies drinking water and handles sewage for 350,000 private and business customers in the Aarhus area. A new stretch of 600 meters with cement-free concrete pipes is now complete on Lykkesholms Allé in the Aarhus district of Viby.
The product, Geoprime® which replaces cement as a binder, comes from the Finnish supplier Betolar1 and is based on blast furnace slag - a residual product from steel production. The product thus also speaks to a larger, global trend of circular economy.
"It is generally a challenge to reduce CO2 emissions in construction work because many large, diesel-powered machines and concrete are used, which have a high CO2 footprint. The cement-free concrete pipes from IBF are a novelty that supports the whole movement, which Aarhus Vand is involved in, to reduce our CO2 footprint. It is a much welcome contribution," says Morten Østergaard Nielsen, Project Manager at Aarhus Vand.
“IBF is the market leader in concrete manufacturing and distribution in Denmark and can deliver several different solution areas. We are very happy to cooperate with them in the Danish markets. IBF is showing that they are a true forerunner in bringing low carbon solutions to the Danish markets and has integrated this fully into their strategy”, says Janne Rauramo, Head of EMEA, Betolar Plc.
“Our cooperation with Betolar has worked really well and taking Geoprime® into use in our production is so easy because we have not needed to make any changes into our production. This has really surprised us and our customers how easy everything is”, tells Jesper K. K. Bang, Engineer and Head of Department, IBF A/S.
Cement production emits CO2
Cement has historically been an indispensable ingredient in the recipe for concrete, where it acts as a binder in the mixture of sand, stone and water. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the cement industry accounts for around 7% of global CO2 emissions.
At the project owner Aarhus Vand, the cement-free concrete pipes fall squarely in line with the utility company's objective of meeting the UN's 17 Sustainability Goals, where measures in the climate and environmental area are paramount. Aarhus Vand works, among other things with climate protection of communal sewer areas, where rain and sewage currently flow in the same pipes, but in the future must be separated into separate pipes. This will prevent the mixture of rainwater and raw sewage from running over and into nature during heavy rain and cloudbursts. Climate protection requires new concrete pipes to be laid in the ground.
"We are working with a strategy where in some places we direct rainwater on the surface instead of in pipes underground to reduce the CO2 footprint. But in many places, we still have to lay new pipes in the ground, and the project with the cement-free concrete pipes shows that we can achieve a tangible and not insignificant CO2 saving," says Morten Østergaard Nielsen.
Saves over 50% CO2
There is still no EU standard for cement-free concrete, but with the help of independent testing institutions, IBF has acquired the documentation of the necessary requirements for the concrete pipes ahead of time. Therefore, Aarhus Vand could quickly make the decision to start the project.
The CO2 saving with the cement-free pipes is more than 50% compared to concrete pipes with cement, says Jesper K. K. Bang.
"It is great that Aarhus Vand has chosen to take the lead with this project. We have invested many hours and resources in the development of cement-free concrete pipes, which we are very proud of and really believe in. Right now, the pipes are a little more expensive than ordinary concrete pipes, but in line with increasing demand, we expect the price to be competitive," says Jesper K. K. Bang.
Yellow shade reveals the difference
For IBF, the cement-free concrete pipes do not entail major changes in the production of the pipes, and on the surface, it is almost indistinguishable from an ordinary concrete pipe. The climate-friendly change is not completely invisible, however, because the pipes have a slightly yellowish color and are also printed with the text IBF Eco2, which is the name of the concrete company's line of products with a CO2 reduction of at least 50%.
Not even for the contractor Arkil A/S, who laid the Ø500 and Ø600 diameter pipes in the ground on Lykkesholms Allé, has anything changed compared to working with traditional concrete pipes. Construction manager Flemming Holm from Arkil has actively contributed to getting the project started, and for him, it is a big plus that the construction work can be made more climate-friendly without having to change the work processes.
"Apart from the colour, there is no difference at all in storing and installing the cement-free concrete pipes. They require no additional training or instruction, so it's really just a matter of putting them in the ground," says Flemming Holm.
About IBF A/S
IBF is one of the leading manufacturers of concrete products in Denmark. It is a family-owned company and has since 1960 worked with the production, development and sales of paving stones, tiles, roofing tiles, drainage pipes and wells, concrete ready mix and customised solutions.
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