Heathrow Airport begins low carbon concrete trials


Heathrow Airport is exploring the viability of lower carbon concrete for use in future runway construction. 

Heathrow Airport photograph.
Credit: Heathrow Airports Limited.

The material will be trialled at a pouring site under the watchtower, to test its strength and durability in the field.   

Jacobs is the technical consultant and project lead, supported also by Cemex and Ecocem. 

First conceived in 2018, the material is the result of four years of research and planning. 

Initially, two lower carbon solutions will be tested: a Pavement Quality Concrete (PQC) equivalent mix containing 50% GGBS, and a zero-clinker product. 

The lower carbon concrete will be assessed for use in main airport areas, groundworks and auxiliary purposes. 

The aim is for the trial’s findings to be used at other airports. 

“We hope this trial will prove successful and demonstrate to the aviation sector the opportunities available to cut emissions during their development projects,” said Richard Kershaw, technical manager at Cemex. 

Richard Moore, Europe aviation engineering lead at Jacobs, said: “Testing the materials in a range of airport infrastructure applications, not just runway and taxiway pavements, allows us to maximise the opportunity to reduce embedded carbon in a wide variety of concrete types. 

Adding: “Building on the success of the trial, we look forward to upscaling to usage in airfield projects being delivered by Ferrovial Construction, Dyer and Butler and other major programme partners across the airport.”      

Nigel Milton, chief of staff and carbon at Heathrow, added: “We’re committed to cutting carbon emissions on the ground as well as in the air and we’re delighted to be hosting one of the first airport trials in the world to test lower carbon alternatives. I hope that this trial will help radically transform the built environment at Heathrow in the years to come.” 

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