Scott Bros prepares for production of low-cem concrete

Scott Bros director Bob Borthwick with some of its ‘recycled’ filter cake that will be used to produce low carbon concrete

The family-run haulage and waste contractor has been working with scientists from Teesside University on a series of trial mixes to find by how much it can reduce the amount of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) in concrete.

Scott Bros has been working for several years to find a practical use for a fine-grained clay, known as filter cake, which is a waste by-product from its two recycling yards that convert construction and demolition waste into sand and aggregate.

The silicate clay-rich filter cake, which has cementitious properties, is currently used as low value British Standard-certified pond lining material or inert engineering fill.

Most binding materials used in traditional concrete are based on Portland cement – but it can be significantly reduced by using the filter cake as an alternative.

The work involving Teesside University’s school of science, engineering & digital technologies involves a series of experiments to determine exactly how much OPC can be replaced by the filter cake material while still achieving the same strength and durability of traditional concrete.

The £612,000 research project is being funded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).

Scott Bros director Bob Borthwick said: “The new plant will enable us to replace a significant amount of OPC with filter cake to create low carbon concrete. By adopting this alternative formulation, we can significantly reduce the large carbon footprint associated with traditional concrete production using a waste material that might otherwise end up in landfill.”

Fellow director Peter Scott added: “This is a major step forward for the region’s circular economy. Transitioning away from traditional OPC toward more environmentally friendly alternatives is crucial for a greener future in construction. Such innovation paves the way for a more sustainable and resilient built environment.”

As previously reported, Scott Bros is also exploring production of bricks from its recycled waste clay, based on similar research at the local university.

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