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BASF launches new tool for Life-Cycle Analysis of concrete

Apr, 12 2012


With the newly developed "Life Cycle Analyzer" BASF helps to improve concrete characteristics. The special software offers solutions in major concrete improvement areas like process efficiency, energy reduction, material optimization, and enhanced quality specifications for manufacturers and users of concrete.

The analysis covers the entire life cycle of concrete in all its different types of production, such as ready-mix and prefabrication. This new method has been specially tailored for the European market. "With this very versatile tool, we can even better support developers, architects, engineers and concrete suppliers when it comes to technical and economic performance as well as environmental impact in their projects", says Dr. Michael Fischer, Regional Business Segment Manager Admixture Systems at BASF.

The BASF team supports customers using the "Life Cycle Analyzer", both in evaluating environmental fingerprint of their products and in understanding the sustainability benefits of concrete. "Data availability has been recognized as one of the discouraging factors for sustainable construction. The new Life Cycle Analyzer is contributing to filling this gap and accelerates the development of sustainable solutions in concrete for our customers", Michael Fischer explains.

The BASF "Life Cycle Analyzer" assesses the environmental profile of concrete based on selected indicators, such as Global Warming Potential (also known as "carbon footprint"), Primary Energy Demand or Acidification Potential. In addition, it evaluates the cost impact, in order to determine the eco-efficiency. The parameterized model is based on the European Standard EN 15804, which defines core rules for the product category of construction products.

The tool allows quick calculation of the environmental and cost impact of different concrete mix-designs, allowing direct comparison of different scenarios. The model falls back to widely recognized European databases, but has also the flexibility to import material-specific or locally available data. In addition to the life cycle assessment of concrete, the calculation and the derived report represent the basis for a concrete Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), giving also input for most recognized building certification schemes (DGNB, BREEAM, HQE and LEED).

Sustainable solutions for concrete gain importance

Both private and public sectors are seeking improvement in sustainable construction. This trend is supported by the expanding network of Green Building Councils worldwide and the growing acceptance for certification systems for sustainable buildings. Consequently, this does create opportunities for innovation in all stages of the construction value chain. The material choice, e.g. of concrete, in the early planning stages of a construction project gains more and more importance in reducing the environmental impact of a building. This opportunity complements measures applied during the use phase of buildings, in particular by improving thermal insulation and energy management.

BASF's "Green Sense ® Concrete" approach

The "Green Sense ® Concrete" approach represents the various initiatives of BASF's Construction Chemicals Division towards more sustainable concrete. These initiatives comprise optimized services, products and tools under the respective local norms and standards, enabling environmentally preferable, cost-effective concrete that meets, and often exceeds, performance targets.

Sustainable solutions for concrete thanks to BASF's innovative admixtures

To capture the full potential of clinker reduction in concrete by using composite cements and/or supplementary cementitious materials like fly ash, blast furnace slag or silica fume, BASF has successfully launched X-SEED ® , an engineered suspension of crystal seeds based on Calcium Silicate Hydrates (CSH) nanoparticles. X-SEED ® boosts the hydration process of fresh concrete in the early age (6-12h) and promotes concrete hardening at low, ambient or even heat curing temperatures. The ecologic, economic and social impacts of X-SEED ® throughout its life-cycle in a precast production were investigated using BASF's SEEBALANCE ® methodology, with the result that the overall Socio-Eco-Efficiency Balance is remarkably increased compared to the solution without X-SEED ® . Additionally, the same scenario was validated by the Nano-Sustainability Check developed by the German Öko-Institut. The hardening acceleration by adding X-SEED ® to the concrete mix-design opens remarkable optimization potential in terms of energy reduction, material optimization, process efficiency, flexibility, and achieving high quality specifications. Ultimately, X-SEED ® does not only save overall costs, it also provides extremely positive influence on energy and climate balance.

Smart Dynamic Concrete TM is a concept for a new generation of highly fluid concretes for day-to-day applications. It enables to reach high workability of concrete with easy to produce and robust concrete mix-designs, even with low fines content. Thanks to its self-compacting characteristics this concrete does not need to be vibrated, which means noise and health hazardous vibrations for the workers at jobsite can be avoided. Installation costs are drastically reduced, and the environment profits from lower usage of energy- and CO 2 -intensive fines.

About the Construction Chemicals division

BASF's Construction Chemicals division is the leading supplier of chemical systems and formulations for the construction industry. Continuous innovation and tailor-made solutions ensure its customers are more successful. Its product portfolio comprises admixture systems, cement additives, solutions for underground construction, repair systems and performance grouts, expansion control systems, waterproofing solutions and sealants, flooring systems, tile fixing systems, wall systems and solutions for wood protection. The division operates production sites and sales centers in more than 60 countries and achieved sales of about EUR2.2 billion with approximately 7,000 employees in 2011.

About BASF

BASF is the world's leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success, social responsibility and environmental protection. Through science and innovation we enable our customers in almost all industries to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and system solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring healthy food and nutrition and helping to improve the quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF posted sales of about EUR73.5 billion in 2011 and had more than 111,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN).

Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.

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