Strong demand for GGBS from Irish market
There is strong and growing demand for GGBS on the Irish market, according to leading Irish supplier Ecocem, as the company gears up to respond to a market and regulatory environment that is increasingly demanding low embodied energy construction products.
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Speaking to Passive House Plus, Ecocem Ireland managing director Susan McGarry said that there is an ample supply of GGBS available to meet this demand, despite recent rumours of GGBS supply shortages. McGarry told Passive House Plus that the company’s strong partnership agreements with suppliers ensure it can meet growing demand.
“We have a capacity for 350,000 tonnes of GGBS annually for the Irish market. We only closed for one week during lockdown and are now about to embark on a new programme of CPDs to help architects and specifiers to understand our products better.” McGarry told Passive House Plus that Ecocem has a long-term partnership agreement with ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, to ensure a continuous supply.
In 2016, the two companies invested in a joint production facility in the north of France. “Even if or when there’s a general slowdown in the general steel industry, we are able to maintain our supply lines,” she said.
GGBS, or ground granulated blast furnace slag, is a by-product of steel manufacturing that can be used an alternative to ordinary portland cement.
McGarry said that in the current climate there is a particular focus on reducing the carbon footprint of construction products, with the European Green Deal coming to the fore, Ireland’s new programme for government explicitly recognising the need to set climate targets in the cement industry, and the growing demand for construction product manufacturers to publish environmental product declarations (EPDs). Ecocem published its first EPD in 2014, the first one published in the UK and Ireland for a cementitious product.
“We’ve reduced the carbon emissions of the cement industry by 12 million tonnes over the past 17 years,” McGarry said. “We’ve invested a huge amount in innovation as well. We spend €2m each year within the Ecocem Group on research and development, including into new sustainable cement types, activation for GGBS, cement-free technologies, and new GGBS-based products like screeds and shotcrete.”
For more information see www.ecocem.ie.