Swansea Lagoon: the Future of Concrete Technology
Here at Ever Readymix, we’re proud to keep on top of the latest innovations in concrete technology, including at our very own batching plant where we precision blend concrete for every construction need. This month we’re taking a look at the exciting Swansea Lagoon project and what it means for the UK concrete industry.
Tonnes of concrete could be just the answer to providing clean power to over 150,000 homes in the UK – in the form of a 6 mile long breakwater and a 16 propeller turbine station in Swansea bay.
If the project is successful, it will open up the floodgates for other schemes throughout the UK. As backers of the project have pointed out, the UK is an island nation with 11,000 miles of coastline and we’re currently ignoring our nation’s greatest potential resource for power: the sea.
If it is built, the lagoon will generate power 14 hours a day as tidal water is pushed and pulled through its 16 submerged turbines – each of which will be the size of a house. At high tide, the lagoon will fill up and turn the turbine propellers, and as the tide goes out, the water will be released to turn the turbines in the opposite direction.
The lagoon is billed as a ‘revolution in UK energy’ and the big role that marine concrete plays in the scheme has led experts to urge contractors to look into using ‘Roman concrete’. Roman concrete uses volcanic ash, rather than cement, and during its heyday in ancient Rome, it was never reinforced with steel bars like today’s reinforced concrete.
The firm proposing to construct the concrete structures are considering all options, including a combination of reinforcement and Roman-style concrete. However, experts like Professor Marie Jackson of Utah University argue that Roman structures – including piers, battlements and the Parthenon (that still stand over 2,000 years later) – prove that reinforcement is not necessary.
As Prof. Jackson states, the reason she is recommending Roman concrete is because it has proved itself capable of lasting even longer than the 120 years it would take for investments in the Swansea lagoon to be recouped. She fears steel reinforcements will react with the seawater and need constant attention to prevent corrosion, which would be costly to the taxpayer.
The technical details are still being hashed out, but in the meantime project managers are envisioning the social impact of the project. Swansea Lagoon is also planned to incorporate a walkway along its entire length, with piers, viewing platforms and places to fish – all using sleek modern concrete designs. Artist’s impressions of the project include ice cream vans, swathes of tourists, boating areas and even a visitor’s centre.
We wish the project and the construction team the best of luck, and will keep our eyes and ears out for upcoming news.
Ever Readymix is on hand to supply concrete for commercial and domestic customers in Yorkshire, including Barnsley, Doncaster, Goole and York. No matter what your needs, our team are fully equipped to mix the perfect batch of concrete for your project and use a range of methods to deliver to site, using our fleet of trucks and concrete pumps. We even offer free site surveys and weekend delivery by arrangement, so we really are the number one choice for customers in Yorkshire. Contact our team today to find out more about our services or arrange a free survey.