Innovation providing solutions for sustainable construction

Elkem Silicon Materials is building on its long history of creating value through sustainable innovation. We currently have a portfolio of products and active product development efforts that focus on providing solutions for solving the world’s need for sustainable buildings. 

Photo: Crossrail Ltd

Increased concrete durability

With global cement production generating 2.2 billion tonnes of CO₂ and accounting for 8% of worldwide CO₂ emissions, Elkem Microsilica® is at the forefront of new technologies that can use concrete more efficiently. Our family of Elkem Microsilica® products significantly improves the environmental profile of concrete by in-creasing durability, giving buildings a longer service life and lowering maintenance costs. Elkem Microsilica® also enables the manufacture of higher strength concrete, thereby enabling more efficient building techniques with slender slabs and columns, reducing concrete consumption.

Reducing carbon footprint

Elkem Microsilica® is widely used in the construction of the Elizabeth Line in London. Starting in 2009, it was the first major infrastructure project to develop a sustainability strategy. Built by Crossrail Ltd, the rail line will stretch more than 60 miles from Reading to Shenfield through central tunnels beneath London. When opening in 2019, the new railway will stop at 40 accessible stations, 10 newly built and 30 newly upgraded, and is expected to serve around 200 million people each year.

As a major energy user during construction and operation, Crossrail Ltd were committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Elkem Microsilica® helped reduce construction related carbon emissions by 18.6%, 10% better than the intended target. All civil structures where Elkem Microsilica® was used, such as tunnels, portals and sur-face sections, were assessed using the Civil Engineering Environmental Quality (CEEQUAL) scheme to evaluate sustainability performance, and have either achieved an excellent rating or are on target to do so. In addition, Elkem had to ensure all trucks delivering to the site were fitted with diesel particulate filters or cleaner Euro Stage IIIB engines to reduce air pollution.

Asbestos substitution

In addition, we have developed solutions for substituting asbestos, a known carcinogen that has commonly been used in the production of building products. Elkem Microsilica® is now an important additive in the fibre cement industry, enabling the production of asbestos free products. In the gypsum industry, Elkem has been developing products that will improve the fire retardancy of wallboard products.

This article was first published in Elkem's sustainability report 2018.