Recycled glass and polyurea replace concrete
«The tour of the company was triggered by initiatives from local politicians as well as what the minister referred to as positive rumours from operators in the market» (Jon Georg Dale).
"Translated text from pictures"
The small product development company Foamrox in Arendal was so high on the wish list of Transport Minister Jon Georg Dale (Progressive Party - FrP) that the ministerial office took the initiative to contact the company in order to make an appointment for a tour during his visit in Agder and Rogaland in March.
TEXT AND PHOTO: THOR SØNDENAA
With its innovative product called Foamrox, the company that shares its name can create a small revolution in the building and construction industry.
By combining two proven components, cellular glass – of which 96 percent comes from recycled glass – and polyurea, a product has emerged which in many contexts can replace traditional concrete. Since its weight is just eight to ten percent of concrete, both transport and installation will be easier and faster than when erecting a concrete structure.
Unique and patented product
With an inner core of cellular glass and an outer coating of polyurea, Foamrox products are fireproof, waterproof and provide insulation. In addition, wireless signals can pass freely through the material – a great advantage when keeping a digital future in mind. The coefficient of expansion in relation to temperature fluctuations is insignificant. The dimensions at minus 40 and plus 40 degrees Celsius have been measured to be exactly the same.
According to the company, polyurea is known as one of the world’s strongest coating materials. It is used as coating on parking facilities, for the internal sealing of fish farming tanks and as an internal wear-resistant coating in production drums for concrete.
The surface of Foamrox products is smooth and even in contrast to the rough surface of concrete – which makes cleaning significantly easier. Product development has taken place in cooperation with Sintef, NIwRAS, the University of Agder and Innovation Norway, among others.
Foamrox is patented in Norway as well as internationally.
A varied product range
– The various products can be supplied tailor-made for each customer, informs Product Manager Terje Jacobsen. Transport Minister Jon Georg Dale had the opportunity to see emergency cabinets, emergency kiosks and an emergency exit intended for tunnels as well as fire barriers and cable draw pits.
Cable trenches are another area of application. In practice, it is really only your imagination that sets the limits for how Foamrox products can be designed and used.
Environmentally friendly and tested
In testing, the product has passed the EI60 industry test which corresponds to the requirement for fire resistance in road tunnels. And while the polyethylene foam that is used today’s tunnels is immediately flammable, studies conducted at Rise Fire Research in Trondheim show that Foamrox is self-extinguishing and will not convey energy to a potential fire.
Provisional calculations show that production results in substantially lower emissions of CO2 in relation to the current tunnel protection usage. In his presentation to the Transport Minister, CEO Kjell Håkan Helgesen related that a future goal is a proprietary production facility in Norway using sustainable Norwegian energy and recycled glass from Norwegian households as raw materials. In such a scenario, CO2 emissions will be virtually nil.The environmental declaration for Foamrox has been formally approved by the Norwegian EPD Foundation.
Nye Veier AS has shown interest
Next to the Foamrox premises in Arendal is the Torbuås tunnel on the new E18 Tvedestrand–Arendal section which Nye Veier is building. They have an explicit strategy to be future-oriented and innovative.
– By agreement, a tunnel to tunnel cross-connection, an emergency kiosk, two cable draw pits and some fire sectioning plates from Foamrox have been installed to test the products, informs Dag Ødegård, Branch Manager at Nye Veier.
– The Foamrox products satisfy all of our functional requirements and have lived up to expectations so far, he continues.
According to plan, the site will be opened for traffic on 2 July of this year.
Predicting a new industrial adventure
Transport Minister Jon Georg Dale obviously felt both involved and excited. The tour of the company was triggered by initiatives from local politicians as well as what the minister referred to as positive rumours from operators in the market. He pointed out the importance of focusing on the functions that need resolution rather than the type of technological solution that is selected. And he had experienced a positive response to this in the directorate.
– We know that we spend a lot of time in the transport sector designing tunnels. And it is expensive. Finding new technological solutions that can help reduce costs as well as give us faster and better expansion is always exciting. But it must be introduced at a speed which means that we are in control and that safety is maintained.
–It is wonderful when an enterprise plans production with zero CO2 emissions. We have a formidable task ahead of us when we are expected to reduce emissions in the transport sector by 50% over the next 12-13 years. This shows that we must consider the entire value chain in order to reduce emissions. And in addition, this is an area where we can help trigger a new industrial adventure in Norway.
- Terje Jakobsen, who is Product Manager at Foamrox, takes pleasure in demonstrating the emergency tunnel which was installed in four hours inside the Torsbuåsen tunnel.
- Transport Minister Jon Georg Dale discovered exciting products at the Foamrox company in Arendal. Here, next to an emergency cabinet for the tunnel.
- The emergency booth from Foamrox installed in the Torsbuåsen tunnel on the new E18 section. Product Manager Terje Jakobsen praises the cooperation with Nye Veier.
- Branch Manager at Nye Veier, Dag Ødegård.
- Foamrox CEO, Kjell Håkon Helgesen.
- Transport Minister Jon Georg Dale was impressed by the Foamrox products.
Read more about the visit in links below (Norwegian text):
Samferdsel & Infrastruktur https://samferdselinfra.no/artikler/et-selskap-flere-og-flere-begynner-a-merke-seg/460642