Washing facilities are in the wind. Perhaps not so strange when you can cut over half a million annually in costs per tipper truck, get an extra 43 percent in sales and at the same time save the environment 1/3 of the CO2 emissions.

Sensational figures

Forward-looking attitudes characterise producers of mineral building materials in Western Norway.

The quarry Velde Pukk has invested in the world’s largest recycling plant, the concrete producer Ølen Betong is testing the possibilities for recycling crushed concrete and we are looking at the possibility of centralized environmental stations.

CDE Washing plant for crushed stone and gravel
Washing facilities that utilize resources we previously regarded as landfilled goods.

In recent weeks, we have been working to quantify potential environmental savings.

Building blocks are transported an average of 18.6 km from quarry to construction site, according to government surveys. It is mainly transported by truck, which returns empty for reloading. The alternative is to use eco-stations, where trucks can drive fully loaded both ways.

If we also halve the distance each truck has to travel by building centrally located washing facilities with concrete and asphalt plants in the same place, we can halve the driving distance.

We have looked at the possibilities, made estimates of noise measurements and named the concept Central Station.

If the truck on the left had return loads to the recycling station, it would have resulted in major savings for the environment and the contractor’s finances.

If the central station halves the mileage of tipper trucks that are fully loaded both ways, it will reduce unloaded driving by up to 90 percent. Per ton produced, there are 37 percent fewer CO2 emissions and 12937 fewer liters of diesel per year. At the same time, it saves the contractor NOK 647,000 in annual costs associated with each truck.

The figures above are for one truck only. If you multiply that by the number of tipper trucks on Norwegian roads, the environmental calculations become hefty.

We are in dialog with public actors to estimate how many trucks drive to and from quarries on Norwegian roads. When we multiply the figures by the number of cars, we think the numbers become startling.

**The above calculation is based on public figures. Unfortunately, there are no figures on what proportion of trucks drive fully loaded both ways when using washing facilities. We know that it is not realistic to say that all cars always drive fully loaded to/from the washing facility, but we do not want to base calculations on assumptions about how many cars there may be. This will vary from site to site. Therefore, the most natural starting point is a fixed parameter that everyone can relate to. In our calculations, we assume that all cars drive both ways fully loaded. From there, each site can calculate how much they can save.

Can revolutionize the construction industry

Environmental stations like this could be central to the construction industry of the future. In a recent press release, Elon Musk, known for the companies Tesla and Space X, launched his vision to streamline tunnel boring through his company The Boring Company.

The company plans to recover excavators from the tunnel hole and use it to cast the tunnel’s concrete element and supporting structure right next to the entrance.

This is a completely new approach to tunnel boring, which will save society from landfills and large CO2 emissions.

Shortening transport distances is a natural next step, the method can potentially also be used in Scandinavia. If the construction projects are large enough, it may be worthwhile to recycle material at centrally located environmental stations in the largest cities.

Then we can recycle asphalt, concrete and raw materials from buildings in the same place and do not have to transport it in and out of the city centre.

We want to further map the potential around the Central Station, a concept where washing plants, asphalt plants and concrete plants are gathered and located within the city centre. We have already worked with a customer to map noise.

In order to reuse masses in this way, they must be purified to achieve satisfactory quality. Such a process relies on expertise in crush, sight, washing and cyclone technology, often integrated into the same process.

Major changes in attitudes

Kjartan Eggebø, operations manager at Velde crushed stone and environment, says that it recently invested in the world’s largest recycling plant for old asphalt, concrete and fill.

He says they are confident that there is a commitment in the right direction. The trucks transport valuable excavation material in and clean fractions out. In this way, they save the environment and make better use of resources.

His department recently acquired another facility with similar technology from CDE Global.

He points out that if builders are to accept recycled building material, it must be of the same quality as new. This is part of the reason for the investment.

With the new facility, they increase the control and quality of the final product.

Great interest

When we arranged an open day at Feiring Bruk with washing facilities as the theme, people from all over the country showed up. CDE Global told us that more people than similar events came outside several of Europe’s largest cities, such as Paris and London.

We think it is exciting to work in such a forward-looking and sustainable industry.

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