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BASF - Sustainable Solutions in Concrete
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BASF - Sustainable Solutions in Concrete

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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 precast. This new method has been specially tailored for the sustainable 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 David Bowerman, 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," Bowerman 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 defaults 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).

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.

The "Green Sense(R) 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.

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(R), an engineered suspension of crystal seeds based on Calcium Silicate Hydrates (CSH) nanoparticles. X-SEED(R) 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(R) throughout its life-cycle in a precast production were investigated using BASF's SEEBALANCE(R) methodology, with the result that the overall Socio-Eco-Efficiency Balance is remarkably increased compared to the solution without X-SEED(R). The hardening acceleration by adding X-SEED(R) 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(R) does not only save overall costs, it also provides extremely positive influence on energy and climate balance.

Smart Dynamic ConcreteTM is a concept for a new generation of highly fluid concretes for day-to-day applications. It enables a high workability of concrete with easy to produce and robust concrete mix-designs, even with low cementitious 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 CO2-intensive cement.

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.

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.

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