A trial in England funded by National Highways and led by Skanska in partnership with the National Composites Centre is comparing traditional steel reinforced concrete with a low carbon concrete reinforced with basalt fiber. The test is being run on a temporary road for construction vehicles.  

Tarmac provided a traditional blended cement material for concrete and a low carbon alternative mix incorporating an Alkali Activated Cementitious Material in place of the cement. The carbon footprint of the new low carbon mix is up to 80% lower than a standard cement concrete. 

The basalt fiber is non-corrosive, strong, and also decreases the carbon footprint of the materials used in the concrete. Malcolm Newton, director at Basalt Technologies, explained, “Basalt is a lightweight composite material consuming 62 per cent less CO2e than steel during its manufacture. It comprises a non-metallic inert material that does not corrode, making it more durable than steel. Basalt Fibre reinforcement is also 4 to 5 times lighter than steel, making it safer to handle, fix and transport with fewer lorry movements.” 

The trial consists of four reinforced concrete slabs that were cast as part of a temporary road. 

Slab A – Conventional concrete + steel reinforcement