Sustainable concrete for port infrastructure

NSW Ports is participating in two research projects through the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the University of NSW (UNSW) to trial use of more sustainable concrete options for marine structures:

  • The UOW research thesis is investigating the effects of using unwashed sea sand in concrete as opposed to river sand, natural sand or manufactured sand. The project is investigating and comparing the compressive strength and chemical composition of concrete cylinders made with sea sand and placed in the marine environment at Port Kembla.
  • The UNSW project was undertaken by the former Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Low Carbon Living and is trialling the use of Geopolymer Concretes made with steel furnace slag. The growing demand to produce concrete for largescale infrastructure places immense pressure on natural resources and an opportunity was identified to use steel furnace slag which is a by-product of steel making. The concrete blocks produced in this manner were placed at the Port Kembla breakwater and are integrity tested on an ongoing basis.

Outcome

Both research projects are challenging the way non-renewable resources are being used in the maritime construction industry by aiming to identify less energy intensive technology and testing the viability of more sustainable material options. The use of alternative concrete compositions will reduce energy consumption during the concrete making process and utilise more environmentally friendly materials and waste products

This initiative was delivered over and above the 2015 Sustainability Action Plan.