Livi recycling specialist taking part in 'world first' project focused on boosting cement's green credentials

A Livingston-based firm is taking part in a “world first”, multi-million-pound project focused on producing zero-emission cement.

Recycling specialist Brewster Brothers is involved in the £6.5 million research and development (R&D) initiative that aims to “transform” the cement and steel industries.

The firm is part of a cross-industry collaboration supporting the Materials Processing Institute that is leading the project to develop “Cement 2 Zero” by harnessing a by-product of crushed concrete from construction and demolition waste to fire the furnace that produces recycled steel and clinker for making new cement.

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Brewster Brothers, which recently secured funding to create 22 “green” jobs, said that over the past four years, it has diverted almost 1 million tonnes of industrial waste from landfill, while it cited research finding that the construction industry is responsible for 40 per cent of Scotland’s carbon emissions.

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MD Scott Brewster said: “The recycling and reuse of construction waste have a major role to play in the drive towards net zero and this is an innovative R&D project that has the potential to create huge carbon savings in the future.

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"It is a fine example of cross-industry circularity where waste from the construction sector is upcycled in the manufacture of steel and cement leading to zero-emission construction. Much more of this is required to establish a circular economy model for the building industry and we are delighted to be involved.

"It is a fantastic opportunity for a [firm of our size] to collaborate and bring our expertise to a group that includes big enterprises and leading academics. The nature of the collaboration – with businesses of all sizes across the supply chain – will ensure that the process can work for everyone commercially while having a profound impact on carbon emissions.”

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From left: Alex Brewster with son Scott, the firm's MD. Picture: contributed.

Chris McDonald, head of the Materials Processing Institute, said the project “has the potential to make a major contribution to achieving a zero-carbon society, secure and increase jobs in the UK cement and steel sectors, and challenge conventional production processes”.

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The UK government-funded project was awarded through UK Research and Innovation, and UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This world first project shows how the UK’s universities, businesses and government are working in tandem to deliver the technologies that can make a real, transformational difference to the decarbonisation of key industrial sectors.”