Khalid Cement and Shell link for sulphur concrete

Companies to develop and market cost-saving modification system

KCIC and Shell at the signing.
KCIC and Shell at the signing.

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Khalid Cement Industries Complex, the Qatari concrete manufacturer, is to work with oil giant Shell to jointly develop new processes for manufacturing pre-cast sulphur concrete elements to sell in the country.

The deal will combine KCIC’s experience in manufacturing and commercialising pre-cast concrete with Shell’s proprietary Shell Thiocrete technology which reduces the cost of modifying sulphur for use in concrete. Shell and Khalid Cement will be using indigenous sulphur, sand, aggregate and fillers to produce sulphur concrete.

“We believe there is significant scope to develop new pre-cast concrete technology and ultimately commercial products from sulphur concrete that will be well-received in the Qatar construction market,” said Sheikh Ahmad Bin Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Thani, chief executive of Khalid Cement.

The collaboration could contribute to reducing the environmental impact of some construction in Qatar, and provide new outlets for Qatar’s rapidly increasing sulphur production.

Shell Thiocrete offers high performance and environmental benefits compared to concrete made from Portland-cement, accoding o the company, as it does not require water.

The manufacturing process also offers lower CO2 emissions than Portland-cement concrete, the company says, partly because the emissions associated with limestone conversion in the cement manufacturing process are avoided.

The end product reaches maximum strength within hours rather than the weeks and it is acid and salt-water resistant.
Materials and techniques for building in a way that is more environmentally beneficial have become more plentiful in the last few years.

Last September, Kryton International, the Vancouver-based concrete product manufacturer, launched a restoration and protection system called Hydrostop Restore & Protect System that extends the useful life of concrete infrastructure and buildings and avoids the environmental impact of replacing the concrete.

But the economic downturn has highlighted the extent in which ‘greener’ materials and techniques are implemented, as they are typically more expensive than standard procedures.

Khaled Awad, founder of Grenea, an investment vehicle focused on sustainable developments, told an audience at a CW conference in Riyadh last June that the cost issue remained critical for industry participants, and that there had yet to be created a cohesive financial case for altering techniques that would help the environment.

But Peyman Mohajer, managing director at Ramboll Middle East, a broad-service design consultancy, said consultants need to be more forthright in communicating sustainable solutions to clients that will not in fact cost more.

“As a consultant we should be bolder, to encourage the developers wherever we are, to bring to their attention that you don’t actually pay a premium, but your project would benefit enormously, both in the actual energy saving in the long run and in terms of the prestige of delivering a project that’s environmentally friendly,” he told CW in an interview.

In a recent online poll, 66.7% of CW readers said sustainability meant ‘A cleaner, better future’ against 33.3% that said it was ‘A positive move that needs coordination’.

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