(The Gulf) — In an initiative aimed at boosting the environment, Qatar Shell and Doha-based Khalid Cement Industries Complex yesterday signed an agreement to jointly develop technology to produce pre-cast sulphur concrete using indigenous materials.
The collaboration could contribute to reducing the environmental impact of some construction activities in Qatar and provide new outlets for the country’s rapidly increasing sulphur production.
The agreement was signed by Sheikh Ahmad bin Khalid bin Mohamed al-Thani, Khalid Cement chief executive officer and Andy Brown, Shell’s executive vice president.
The joint work will combine Khalid Cement’s expertise in manufacturing and commercialising pre-cast concrete with the 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.
Shell said its Thiocrete technology offers high performance and environmental benefits compared with concrete made from Portland cement.
Shell Thiocrete does not require water, a scarce commodity in Qatar. The manufacturing process also offers lower CO2 emissions than Portland cement concrete 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 weeks it takes now, and is acid and salt-water resistant as well.
By 2015, there will be an estimated 2.5mn tonnes of sulphur produced annually in Qatar, all derived from the production of oil and natural gas. Global production of sulphur is also likely to increase significantly. Finding new ways to use sulphur would enable Qatar to improve the economic return derived from this natural resource.
Sheikh Ahmad said, “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 Qatar. We are pleased to partner with Shell in this venture, and are glad it could make both environmental and economic contribution to the nation.
“Khalid Cement, as one of Qatar’s leading providers of complete concrete solutions has the ability to design, manufacture and erect precast elements while ensuring high quality production as evidenced by Khalid Cement’s ISO and other key certifications. We are proud that Khalid Cement is a part of Qatar’s commendable growth with our sustainable and credible involvement in major landmark projects and relevant technological initiatives, such as this innovation with Shell.”
Brown said, “Shell is proud to partner with Khalid Cement for the purposes of this development work, which we hope will create whole new, environmentally-constructive, markets for sulphur, which is one of Qatar’s natural resources. Much Portland cement is currently imported, so this work could also help to diversify Qatar’s industry. We think both these outcomes would be in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.”
By Pratap John