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SBFS lays the foundations for a greener cement plant in Airvault (France)

Last spring, SBFS teams were mobilized to take part in a major project for cement manufacturer CALCIA. The cement plant, located at Airvault in the Deux-Sèvres region of France, is planning to renew 80% of its equipment and will be equipped with a new production unit enabling it to double its daily production while reducing its carbon footprint by 27% compared with the current situation.

Ecological progress

The Airvault 2025 project is an ambitious one, given that the cement industry, the mainstay of our business, accounts for 7% of CO2 emissions worldwide, and that the current cement plant is 103 years old for the most outdated equipment.

To achieve this, CALCIA plans to replace these two semi-dry firing lines with a new dry firing line with precalciner capable of processing up to 4000T/day of material. In addition to reducing the proportion of clinker in cement, the production of which emits greenhouse gases, this new process will also cut water consumption by 16% and electricity requirements by 10%.

What’s more, the project is part of a local ecological approach, since 88% of the thermal consumption of the new equipment will eventually be provided by alternative fuels instead of coke and coal. These fuels, made up in particular of non-recyclable waste, will be sourced locally as a matter of priority.

In the long term, ADEME estimates that these efforts will reduce CO2 emissions by 250,000 t/year, while lowering the rate of sulfur dioxide emissions, an irritating gas. 

The works

The particularity of the project lies in its location in a former open-cast quarry that was backfilled several decades ago. This geology necessitated the use of Starsol piles sized to anchor in the healthy bedrock, the upper part of which varies widely between 6 and 13 m in depth.

The Fundex F3500 and F2800 rigs, with their 45 T.m torque required for proper anchoring, were chosen for the 619 piles with diameters ranging from 620 mm to 1020 mm during the first two phases of the project.

A third phase of the project will begin in December, to complete the final piles. Once again, a Fundex F3500 will be used for the last 182 Starsol piles in diameters of 620 and 820mm. An external constraint will be added to this phase: co-activity! Civil engineering work has been in full swing for several months now, and the space available on site is shrinking by the day… So it’s a final challenge that awaits the Soletanche Bachy Fondations Spéciales teams before they leave the Airvault region for good!

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