Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive Officer of the Environment Agency, visited O.C.O Technology’s Avonmouth facility on Wednesday (August 17).

The two-hour visit gave him the chance to see the company’s world-leading Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT) in action and talk to its experts about future developments in the fight against climate change.

O.C.O’s ACT uses carbon dioxide gas to treat and valorise a wide range of wastes, including Air Pollution Control residues (APCr) from the Energy from Waste sector, turning it into carbon negative aggregate – called Manufactured Limestone (M-LS).

Because more CO2 is permanently captured than is used in the manufacturing process, it has been recognised as the world’s first carbon negative aggregate and is increasingly sought after as a sustainable building material.

Speaking afterwards, Sir James said: “What O.C.O Technology delivers as a company is truly innovative: a technique of capturing carbon that turns hazardous waste into a non-hazardous resource in a process that is net carbon negative.

“The Environment Agency’s ‘End of Waste’ approval is rare and well deserved. I look forward to developing our relationship further to support the delivery of UK Net Zero targets.”

O.C.O’s Managing Director, Steve Greig, hosted the visit alongside fellow directors Clayton Sullivan-Webb (also Managing Director of Grundon Waste Management) and Non-Executive Director Stephen Roscoe.

Steve said: “We were very pleased to welcome Sir James and his EA sustainability team colleagues to Avonmouth.

“It was an opportunity for them to see first-hand how our innovative processes turn hazardous waste materials, which would otherwise have been sent to landfill, into an award-winning carbon negative aggregate, with the power to make significant CO2 savings versus more traditional building materials.  

“We had a number of wide-ranging discussions on topics including the potential for using M-LS in future EA projects, O.C.O’s ongoing development plans, and our trials of new materials.

“We already have a very positive working relationship with the EA, further strengthened by this visit, and we thank Sir James for his encouraging comments.”

Last year (2021), a project involving O.C.O’s M-LS earned top honours in the Towards Net Zero category of the Environment Agency Flood & Coastal Excellence Awards.

The M-LS was a key component in a groundbreaking low carbon asphalt mix used in the construction of a low carbon cycle path, built for Birmingham City Council as part of the Bromford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

O.C.O was one of a number of supply chain partners brought together by Jackson Civil Engineering on the building project for the Environment Agency. At the time, the award judges said the use of carbon negative aggregate on the flood defence cycle scheme was “a great step forward in the right direction and could be transformational if applied to flood schemes more extensively in the future”.

Estimates showed that the 2.5km new low carbon foamed asphalt path could deliver CO2 savings of more than 70 tonnes – equal to a 90% reduction – compared with using a traditional hot AC20 asphalt mix.

Pictured left is Sir James Bevan, CEO of the Environment Agency, taking a closer look at O.C.O Technology’s world-leading carbon negative aggregate. Alongside him is O.C.O’s Lee Thompson, Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) Manager.