Infrastructure construction as a decarbonization contribution

06.12.2021

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The motion "Research and innovation of wood as a material for use in infrastructure construction as a contribution to decarbonization" was adopted in the Council of States and the National Council. The task now is to replace reinforced concrete with CO₂-storing materials such as wood in infrastructure construction. Timbatec is looking forward to this exciting task and is happy to support the federal government.

Infrastructure construction is one of the largest CO₂ emitters in Switzerland. The main cause is the use of reinforced concrete. With annual CO₂ emissions of around 2.5 million tons, cement production accounts for over 5 percent of national CO₂ emissions. For the construction of infrastructures, in the building sector but also in other areas such as the road sector, various solutions are already available today with materials that do not produce CO₂ during production but store it, such as wood. One cubic meter of wood stores about 1 ton of CO₂ in the long term. When used properly, wood is a very long-term and also cost-effective CO₂ store in infrastructure buildings in all areas.


The first promising applications of wood in infrastructure construction already exist. The wildlife overpasses Neuenkirch and Rynetel are good examples. Nevertheless, increased support for research and innovation is needed so that a significant contribution to CO₂ storage and the reduction of CO₂ production can be made in good time.

The advantages over the currently discussed CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) are obvious: with CCS, one pays a high amount per ton of CO₂ for the pure storage function, whereas this is included in the price for the use of wood for infrastructure construction, i.e. it is free of charge, so to speak. 


The Motion "Research and innovation of wood as a material for use in infrastructure construction as a decarbonization contribution" by Lignum President Jakob Stark was adopted in the Council of States on June 15, 2021 and in the National Council on November 30, 2021.


The Federal Council is now tasked with researching the possibilities for decarbonizing infrastructure construction in cooperation with universities and the relevant standards commissions. In particular, it is to be examined or sought to supplement or replace reinforced concrete with CO₂-storing materials. Research and innovation of wood as a material for widespread use in infrastructure construction should be a priority. Timbatec, together with the Bern University of Applied Sciences, has already developed such a strategy and recommends to the federal government and FEDRO that wood be used instead of reinforced concrete in the future in the nine areas listed below. Already today, wildlife overpasses, noise barriers or bridges across the axis are built in timber construction. We are convinced that, with the appropriate research and development work, wood can soon also be used for tunnel constructions or for cross-axis bridges.

Dekarbonisierungsstrategie

Research strategy for infrastructure buildings as a contribution to decarbonization © Franke, Bern University of Applied Sciences  


Wood on Austria's highways  

Infrastructure buildings in Austria are also to dispense with steel and concrete in the future. ASFINAG, the company mainly responsible for Austria's highways and expressways, has recognized the advantages of wood. The company has its own stock of trees, along the roads or in the immediate vicinity of them. A part of the tree existence is already processed as biomass, the usable wood existence is to flow in the future to a visible use as timber. In a public call, ASFINAG is calling for ideas for new uses for wood in the area of freeways and federal highways. Timbatec, together with the Bern University of Applied Sciences, presented the same nine solutions as in the research strategy mentioned above.

 
 
 

Switzerland:

Thun Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Niesenstrasse 1, 3600 Thun

Tel: +41 58 255 15 10

thun@timbatec.ch


Zürich Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Ausstellungsstrasse 36, 8005 Zürich

Tel: +41 58 255 15 20

zuerich@timbatec.ch


Delémont Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Avenue de la Gare 49, 2800 Delémont 

+41 58 255 15 40 

delemont@timbatec.ch


Bern Branch

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers Switzerland Ltd.

Falkenplatz 1, 3012 Bern

Tel: +41 58 255 15 30

bern@timbatec.ch

Austria:

Headquarters Vienna (A) 

Timbatec Timber Construction Engineers GmbH
Im Werd 6/31a, 1020 Wien 
Tel: +43 720 2733 01

wien@timbatec.at


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