By Ian McConnell

A PLANT which will enable the manufacture of lower-carbon cement products is being created in South Lanarkshire, following a £500,000 award from Scottish Government-backed Zero Waste Scotland’s Circular Economy Investment Fund.

The new facility is being launched by Innovative Ash Solutions, a 50-50 joint venture between Scottish waste and resource management company Levenseat and environmental and renewable energy consultant Organic Innovative Solutions.

IAS said the funding award would support development of an “industrial-scale facility, capable of processing up to 20,000 tonnes of incineration fly, cyclone and boiler ash into a sustainable form of pulverised fuel ash (PFA), a key ingredient used in cement”.

It noted it had secured “end-of-waste” status from SEPA earlier this year for its product, which was developed in partnership with the University of Strathclyde’s civil and environmental engineering department and the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre. And it flagged potential cost savings, as well as environmental benefits, for the construction industry.

IAS said: “Using this new IAS-patented process, which diverts waste materials from landfill and avoids the use of virgin sand, creates a product which is cheaper and will reduce the environmental impact of concrete production compared to the use of imported PFA.”

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It added that it had already secured letters of interest for more than 60,000 tonnes of its new product and an additional feedstock contract.

The planned production facility, at Levenseat’s site near Forth in South Lanarkshire, is due to be commissioned by the end of 2022. IAS said that, when fully functional, the new facility would enable savings of up to 6,104 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. It calculated that this was "the equivalent of 2,847 commercial flights or 3,260 cars on the road" in terms of emissions.

Over the next five years, IAS plans to build three full-scale industrial plants which will produce up to 54,000 tonnes of PFA replacement annually and reduce carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions by 500,000 tonnes.

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It said the entire project would create an estimated 20 “green jobs” and would also sustain additional construction employment in the building of the facilities.

Robert Green, director of IAS, said: “Our product not only provides a cheaper concrete option, it also means lower-emission concrete production by using a safe, accredited end-of-waste solution made from materials diverted from landfill sites. This provides a win-win scenario for construction companies which are facing rising costs and additional pressures to lower their carbon footprint.”

Scottish Trade Minister Ivan McKee said: "[The] award underlines the Scottish Government's support for collaborations between business and academia to achieve sustainable construction solutions and develop Scottish supply chains...This is a tribute to the innovation and adaptability displayed by businesses...

"This funding award will help transform the idea into a viable business which will further support Scotland's net-zero ambition."