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Cementing the future of regional manufacturing

A more environmentally friendly cement promises to be a game changer for the construction industry.

When construction materials supplier Adbri decided to set a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it had to tackle reductions of one of the most emissions-intensive materials on earth: cement.

Accounting for around eight per cent of annual carbon dioxide emissions — far more than those from aviation — cement’s carbon-intensive manufacturing process largely comes from its clinker content.

“Clinker is a material that’s produced in a very large rotary kiln at high temperatures involving complex reactions, including the release of carbon dioxide through the calcination of limestone,” David Farah, Group Manager — Quality & Innovation at Adbri, told create.

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Roboplant: The AI factory of tomorrow

Italian civil engineering giant Webuild has unveiled a state-of-the-art, automated factory that sets new benchmarks for advanced manufacturing.

The group, which is constructing the hydroelectric pumped-storage scheme Snowy 2.0, Australia’s biggest renewable energy project, designed and built the innovative facility in Belpasso, a town near Catania in Sicily.

It will make precast concrete segments for more than 30 kilometres of tunnels to be excavated by tunnel-boring machines for a new double-track railway along the island’s eastern coast.

The railway between Messina and Catania is part of a project that will create a 250km/h mainline connecting the island’s largest cities.


Watch how Paladin Space is developing a solution to clean up artificial debris in space.

It is estimated that there is at least 9000 t of debris currently in orbit. This debris ranges from defunct satellites to spaceship fragments to paint chips left over from previous space missions.

The speeds at which these objects travel is equivalent to about 10 times the speed of a bullet. That’s strong enough to damage the infrastructure of the International Space Station, as recorded in 2021.

Enter Paladin Space, an Adelaide company tackling the challenge by developing the first reusable space debris remover — with the goal of making space both cleaner and safer for future space missions.

In a new video, Paladin Space founder Harrison Box, who has a background in aeronautical and systems engineering, explains the dangers of space debris — and how their innovative solution aims to combat this threat.


Making the mining industry carbon neutral by 2030

Mineral processing equipment manufacturer Gekko Systems is finding engineering solutions for remote and environmentally sensitive mining operations with high energy costs.

Ballarat’s Gekko Systems has become a global leader in mineral processing for mining companies by designing, manufacturing, installing and commissioning energy-efficient modular plants and processing equipment.

Michael Trenorden MIEAust, Engineering Manager at Gekko Systems, explained that the company’s approach focuses on minimising the energy needed to process minerals.

By working with the coarsest possible “liberation size” of minerals to achieve gold recoveries, Gekko reduces the energy requirements.


Cutting back on health care waste

Regulatory requirements can impede sustainable progress in the health care sector. But some companies and engineers are up to the challenge.

The health care system makes up a substantial portion of Australia’s carbon footprint, accounting for seven per cent of the nation’s total emissions.

While the lion’s share of the sector’s emissions are generated through supply chains, single-use plastics – ranging from personal protective equipment and hospital gowns to medicine cups, IV bags and catheters – are a prevalent problem.

Plastics, making up a third of hospital waste generated in Australia, are largely relegated to landfill.

In the pursuit of a more circular health care economy, create takes a look at some local and international innovations that could help to make an impact.


Meet the aerospace engineer-turned-environment advocate on a quest to rid the world of artificial contaminants.

The original ‘forever chemical’, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – first synthesised in the 1880s – was once considered a revolutionary organochlorine compound.

Following commercial production in 1929, PCBs enabled the development of the power grid through use of transformer oils to thermally insulate capacitors and transformers.

Because the thermal properties of the chemical were so robust, it was also used in paints, caulking materials and grease as part of pumping and mechanical systems.

But several decades later, the chemical was notoriously known for a different property – carcinogenicity – with the United States Environmental Protection Agency banning PCBs in 1979 and the World Health Organization following suit in 1980.


Reducing nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere

A remote ammonia and hydrogen producer whose products feed around 250 million people worldwide is turning its hand to more sustainable products.

As one of the largest ammonia producers in the world, Yara is engaged in secondary and tertiary downstream processing.

Producing an average 840,000 t of ammonia and 330,000 t of ammonium nitrate annually, Yara makes up around five per cent of the global traded ammonia market that underpins the global fertiliser trade.

That’s a lot of heavy lifting for a relatively small workforce of around 250 people in the Pilbara region in northern Western Australia.

A feat of complex chemical engineering, Yara receives raw natural gas from a third party, which it then takes and turns into value-added end products such as fertilisers.

Law Reform Concepts for Model Building Regulations 

The built ecology, both locally and internationally, has encountered profound, if not unprecedented, change in the last 20 years. Regrettably, building regulations have not evolved with sufficient alacrity and sensitivity to best calibrate with the dynamic and rapidly changing nature of the new building paradigm.A holistic and best-practice approach to law reform is critical to moving forward. Such an approach must not be governed by provincial drivers.

We now live in a world where the building industry is influenced by the headwinds of globalization, as so much of local construction product and construction systems are heavily influenced and reliant upon that which is sourced from abroad. What follows is a conceptual template for progressive building control, because it is time to take stock and develop building regulations for the future. Lessons learnt in recent times have helped shape some of the recommendations for consideration. – Read Article


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