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Rob Carr continuing to take steps to reduce carbon footprint

Emissions reduction is arguably the most significant topic for debate in the community and has been for some time. It is now apparent that all individuals and organisations have a role to play in taking responsibility and being conscious for their carbon output and making changes where they can.

Leading the way for a decade

Rob Carr is proud to be leader in the research and development of microtunnelling and other trenchless technologies in Australia and New Zealand. Back in 2012, the company supported research into how microtunnelling could be used to reduce emissions – the learnings of which were subsequently put into practice.

Through the Griffith School of Engineering, Rob Carr Project Manager Jaime Leal undertook an investigation into the emissions generated from trenchless versus conventional open cut methods. The purpose of the research was to compare the carbon footprint of microtunnelling, based on data from a number of projects carried out by the company, with projects which used conventional construction methods.

Mr Leal’s research found the emissions produced by microtunnelling was dependent on the size of the microtunnel boring machine (MTBM) and the soil conditions, while emissions from conventional construction were strictly related to the depth to invert level of the installation.

The main comparison, where both construction methodologies comprised an identical scope, included a 3.5 m deep invert level pipeline in sand, sandy clay and gravel. The microtunnelling method was established to produce only 47 per cent of the amount of CO2 emissions produced by open cut.

The thesis also found the fuel consumption of microtunnelling was dependent on geology and the tonnage required to push the MTBM thorough the ground. As a result, concluded that at a depth of 1.9 m – in clay, sand or gravel – microtunnelling became more economical and was the most advantageous technique for pipeline installation.

Environmental action plan

In 2020, Rob Carr’s parent company, Soletanche Bachy, mandated that all of its subsidiaries around the world would be required to produce an Environmental Action Plan designed to reduce emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. It was stipulated these plans had to target three key areas of improved efficiency: fuel, electricity, and water.

To meet these objectives, last year Rob Carr installed solar power generation at the company’s warehouses in Yatala, Queensland and in Welshpool, Western Australia.

In addition to office space, at Yatala the system had to be designed to cater for an onsite fabrication facility which uses a considerable amount of power. A 39 kW system is now in place, featuring 128 solar panels, with approximately 4 kW of redundant power directed back into the grid. In Welshpool, a 9 kW system made up of 24 panels was installed and in 7 months of operation has reduced emissions by 6.76 t.

To tackle fuel reduction, Rob Carr’s fleet of generators has been updated with newer and more environmentally beneficial technology, while the company is also looking at introducing transformers on site and reducing the use of light vehicles on projects. In Yatala a more than 20,000 l rainwater tank has been installed under the warehouse, while water recycling processes are also in use.

“The results of our Environmental Action Plan will be assessed at the end of this year, at which point a new plan featuring new steps will be introduced,” says Rob Carr Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Manager Mark Fee.

“These plans need to be assessed regularly to ensure we know how we’re tracking against our goals. The early indications are that we are already exceeding the expectations set out by our parent company, are on track to exceed our 2030 target, and are committed to going further than that in the future.”

For more information visit Rob Carr’s website

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