Scottish facility wins £500K grant to support circular cement

Jill Farrell, Director, Customer Engagement and Communications, at Zero Waste Scotland and Innovative Ash Solutions Director Robert Green, holding test blocks made from their innovative end-of-waste product.
Jill Farrell, Director, Customer Engagement and Communications, at Zero Waste Scotland and Innovative Ash Solutions Director Robert Green, holding test blocks made from their innovative end-of-waste product

Pioneering sustainable solutions, a Lanarkshire manufacturing facility which will enable the production of lower-carbon cement products has secured a £500,000 award from the Circular Economy Investment Fund administered by Zero Waste Scotland.

The new site is being launched by Innovative Ash Solutions (IAS), a 50/50 joint venture between leading player in the Scottish waste and resource management sector Levenseat and Organic Innovative Solutions. Funding will support the 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 in cement.

IAS secured end-of-waste status from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) earlier this year for its innovative PFA replacement product, manufactured from Air Pollution Control residues (APCr). Developed in partnership with the University of Strathclyde Civil & Environmental Engineering Department and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), the product was also successful in winning the Innovation Category at the MRW National Recycling Awards 2021.

APCr is a hazardous waste that is produced as a result of cleaning the flu gases in energy from waste (EfW) and wood biomass facilities. Up until now, all APCr produced in Scotland had to be exported to England for treatment and disposal.

This new IAS patented process, which diverts waste materials from landfill and avoids 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. 

IAS has already secured letters of interest for over 60,000 tonnes of its new product and an additional feedstock contract. The production facility, which will be located on Levenseat’s site in South Lanarkshire, is due to be commissioned by the end of 2022. When fully functional, the new facility will enable carbon savings of up to 6,104 tonnes of CO2e per year, the equivalent of 2,847 commercial flights or 3,260 cars on the road. 

Over the next five years, IAS intends to build three full scale industrial plants which will produce up to 54,000 tonnes of PFA replacement annually and reduce CO2e emissions by 500,000 tonnes. The entire project will create an estimated 20 new green jobs and also sustain additional construction jobs in the building of the facilities.

Viable business that supports Scotland’s net zero ambitions

Jointly announcing the funding, Trade Minister Ivan McKee said:

“This award from Zero Waste Scotland will help transform the idea into a viable business which will further support Scotland’s net zero ambitions. It underlines the Scottish Government’s support for collaborations between business and academia to achieve sustainable construction solutions and develop Scottish supply chains.

“I applaud IAS and its partners for developing an innovative carbon-reducing PFA replacement product. This is a tribute to the innovation and adaptability displayed by businesses. We want to work with them and others to build an economy for everyone by delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.

The grant will help speed commercialisation, agreed Innovative Ash Solutions Director Robert Green:

“This significant award from Zero Waste Scotland’s Circular Economy Investment Fund will enable us to scale production of the innovative PFA replacement developed in partnership with Strathclyde University and CSIC. 

“Our product not only provides a cheaper concrete option, it also means lower-emission 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.”  

Circular solutions are crucial for the future decarbonisation of construction, concluded Jill Farrell, Director, Customer Engagement and Communciations, at Zero Waste Scotland:

“To end our contribution to the climate crisis, we need to tackle overconsumption and switch from a wasteful linear economy to a circular one. Construction relies heavily on finite resources, which is why we’re committed to helping businesses, such as IAS and its partners, in developing bold, ingenious, and sustainable solutions that reduce the demand for and waste of virgin materials. 

“Innovative companies in Scotland are truly leading the way in finding solutions to some of our biggest challenges in the construction industry. I’m thrilled that support from the Circular Economy Investment Fund will enable IAS to continue to build a more environmentally friendly future while contributing to Scotland’s transition to a circular economy.”

Climate impacts of resource efficiency in a circular economy

A not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund, Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, with a focus on where it can have the greatest impact on climate change. Using evidence and insight, the ZWS goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy.

The Production of PFA Replacement from APCr project is supported as part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme. This programme provides funding and support for small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland to be more resource efficient and create a more circular economy.

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