Company delivers record concrete pours at landmark Longhill Burn project in West Lothian
AGGREGATE Industries have completed record-breaking 750m3 weekly concrete pours over the course of eight weeks to support the turbine infrastructure of Scotland’s landmark new Longhill Burn wind farm.
The Longhill Burn project is a new multi-million-pound wind farm in West Lothian, Scotland. Once completed and operational, the 50MW facility will comprise eight of the largest available capacity onshore turbines and is expected to be one of the biggest subsidy-free onshore wind projects in the UK.
For the wind farm’s foundational structure, main contractors AE Yates sought a specialist partner with the ability to supply and pour the 750m3 concrete requirement for each of the eight wind turbine bases at a rate of approximately one per week, in line with the wider project’s meticulous framework.
Given the scale of the project, it was equally important that the concrete specification be purposefully designed to incorporate blended cement to reduce the associated heat created by large volume pours.
Chosen for their past successes in large-scale concrete pours, Aggregate Industries developed a holistic response. Recognizing that the weekly 750m3 quota was too large for a single local plant to fulfil, the team devised a robust delivery framework whereby the main supply was provided by the company’s nearby Duntilland plant, with the nearby Ratho plant on standby as backup. These were supported by Aggregate Industries’ Grangemouth and Coatbridge plants, which were deployed to send supplementary loads as required.
Equally innovative was the team’s approach to the product. Each pour consisted of a bespoke blend of CEM 1 and ground granulated blast-furnace slag (ggbs) specifically designed to reduce the temperature rise and help avoid early-age thermal cracking inherent in huge-volume pours.
Sustainability was accounted for too, with the unique blend categorized within Aggregate Industries’ ECOPact green concrete range, which offers 50% carbon reduction compared with traditional solutions, while ensuring the same setting time and structural performance.
A key component of Aggregate Industries’ success with the project was their speed of delivery. Within a total weekly window of approximately 12 hours, the team was able to complete each weekly quota, in accordance with available driver hours. This achievement was supported by a team of 32, including, amongst others, four shippers, six production staff, two technical experts and the entire Scottish ready-mixed concrete driver fleet.
In total, the specification included 6,080m3 of ECOPact Prime and 700m3 of general concrete, as well as 21,500 tonnes of aggregates and 1,300 tonnes of sand.
John Young, customer services manager at Aggregate Industries, said: ‘The Longhill Burn wind farm project is a nationally defining one which will set the benchmark for opportunities to decarbonize energy supply as we address the challenges of climate change and energy security. We are, therefore, very proud to have secured this competitive contract which, we believe, is a reflection of our leading capabilities, both technically and strategically.
‘Logistically, this was a challenging contract. It meant we had to keep two pumps active at all times, with our entire Scottish team working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure all pours were completed. It also required an incredibly tight-knit approach to shipping and delivery, making sure we were able to make exacting slots.
‘In terms of the product itself, we were able to provide a bespoke solution as well as guarantee first-class structural performance and 50% carbon reductions. However, thanks to our local presence, product innovation, precise planning and sheer hard work, we are immensely proud to have delivered on all counts.’