As part of ADEPT’s Live Labs 2 programme, Devon County Council’s Principal Engineer – Major Projects has given details of the county’s A382 Carbon Negative Project.
Beth Lewis says the project, which falls within the theme of ‘Corridor and place-based decarbonisation’ got off to a busy start, with one of the first tasks to determine the next steps for carbon calculation, building on the collaborative project with contractors.
“We’re starting from a position where both Devon County Council and Milestone – our highways maintenance contractor and delivery partner for this project – have a calculation tool and guidelines,” she tells ADEPT.
“Working closely with the University of Exeter, we’ve reviewed these tools, and worked out what we need from both to make sure they’re a perfect fit for our A382 carbon negative road project. Improvements are now underway, bringing together their respective strengths and making updates to ensure we have a tool that can deal with all the changes and innovations the project encounters.”
The council’s aim is to be on site in spring 2024. Working to such a tight timescale means that as well as working on the calculation, staff have also been seeking out innovations to be used on the project. A huge amount of work has been done by the project team, talking to and meeting with suppliers and innovators.
“There are some great products and ideas both within the construction industry and beyond and we’re starting to see how connections and sharing of ideas between some companies could result in better innovations,” Beth Lewis adds. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve been investigating further the possibilities of biochar and carbon negative aggregates.
“While we know where the carbon hotspots lie on the project, and those are the obvious areas to target, we’ve found that progress is determined more by the response of suppliers than what is more pressing for us. Our sense of urgency is not shared by the industry and so, while progress has been good, it hasn’t necessarily been in the areas we hoped.”
The team attended the LCRIG Innovation Festival last month, calling it a great opportunity to talk to many suppliers in one go and broaden the search for innovation. A week later, with Milestone, it hosted its own innovation day to hear about innovations and meet suppliers, and we started the day with a challenge for all those present to reduce their own carbon footprint.
“There’s no doubt that Live Labs 2 is the start of a long journey towards greener roads,” she concludes. “It’s certainly helping us to continue in the right direction, and no matter whether the A382 Live Labs project achieves its goal or not, it will provide us with lots of learning and be a huge step toward reaching our final destination of making carbon negative roads a reality.”
(Picture – ADEPT)