The government has given Laing O’Rourke a £355,000 grant for the research that is being conducted at its Explore precast factory in Steetley.
The grant comes from the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF), run by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Laing O’Rourke is working with the University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to investigate every facet of the production process, from the use of low carbon concrete, steel and aggregate and technologies, to the systems used to create formwork and cure products.
The objectives are twofold: to apply new lower carbon materials and processes to reduce the embodied carbon in finished products, including columns, walls, floor slabs, and architectural facades; and to decarbonise the operation of the Steetley facility. After initial scoping work to quantify, prioritise and define decarbonisation interventions, the consortium will conduct feasibility trials for each intervention.
Laing O’Rourke research & development leader Chris Millard said: “Advances in this area are essential to help reduce the carbon impact of the built environment, which accounts for 45% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. The project could also be a catalyst for the implementation of the Government’s Construction Playbook, which sets out policies to increase the use of manufacturing in construction, to boost productivity and deliver better, faster and greener public buildings and infrastructure. Our vision is to put any developments to work across our global business, and to share learnings that build on overall sustainability efforts across engineering and construction.”
Construction and energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “We have set a world-leading commitment to tackle climate change by 2050 and developing the technologies we need to rein in carbon emissions will not only allow us to transition to a green economy, but will reduce costs for business, boost investment and create jobs.
“All sectors are going to be involved in this process and this funding is allowing Laing O’Rourke to drive forward the innovation that will help a key part of the construction industry cut emissions as we build back greener from the pandemic.”