O.C.O Technology’s Manufactured LimeStone (M-LS) has played a key role in helping to secure a prestigious environmental award for Jackson Civil Engineering.

Jackson took top honours in the Towards Net Zero category, part of the Environment Agency Flood & Coastal Excellence Awards, for its work in developing a groundbreaking low carbon asphalt mix used in the construction of a low carbon cycle path.

O.C.O’s M-LS was one of the components used in the project, which was built by Jackson for Birmingham City Council as part of the Bromford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Speaking at the virtual awards ceremony, Tony Grayling, Director of Sustainable Business and Development at the Environment Agency, said: “The judges were really impressed to see that considerations for low carbon and Net Zero were front and centre from the start.

“The innovative use of carbon negative aggregate on the flood defence cycle scheme is a great step forward in the right direction and could be transformational if applied to flood schemes more extensively in the future.”

Early calculations showed that the 2.5km new low carbon foamed asphalt path, made from recycled aggregates and processed waste products, could deliver CO2 savings of more than 70 tonnes – equal to a 90% reduction – compared with using a traditional hot AC20 asphalt mix.

O.C.O Technology was one of a number of supply chain partners brought together Jackson on the building project for the Environment Agency, which has already committed to reaching net zero by 2030.

David Olley, O.C.O’s Aggregates Sales and Development Manager, has had more than 30 years’ experience in the aggregates sector, and says he sees the award as an important vote of confidence for M-LS.

“We are very proud of our contribution to this project and want to thank Jackson both for giving us the opportunity to be involved and for sharing our faith in the success story that is M-LS,” he said.

“Not only have we been able to show that carbon negative aggregates have a role to play in sustainable construction and the road to carbon zero but, just as importantly, they offer a credible alternative to using up our finite resources of traditional sand and gravel.

“I really feel the tide is beginning to change, people will have to start looking for alternatives and I think this award will open their eyes to the fact there is a manufactured product which can be used in various applications – such as asphalt and Type 1 concrete – which is both proven to work and is environmentally-friendly.”

In 2020, O.C.O manufactured well over 300,000 tonnes of M-LS across its three UK operations. Until now, it has predominantly been used as a block mix in the construction sector.

The carbon negative aggregate is created by treating Air Pollution Control residues (APCr) from the Energy from Waste (EfW) sector with waste carbon dioxide gas. Because more CO2 is permanently captured than is used in the manufacturing process M-LS has been recognised as the world’s first carbon negative aggregate.

Photo shows the low carbon asphalt cycle path, part of the Bromford Flood Alleviation Scheme. (note: picture taken prior to social distancing)