100% environmentally friendly sleepers make their entrance
Until now, all trains ran on rails with sleepers made of cement or treated wood. Not exactly environmentally friendly. From now on, green ones made of circular sulphur concrete will be put into use.
Sulphur is considered waste from the oil industry. But it can be reused. It can be recycled by heating it to 140°C, for example, for the production of sleepers, the crossbeams that support railway tracks. The CO₂ emissions for sulphur concrete are 40% lower than those for traditional railway sleepers. This amounts to a CO₂ saving of no less than 8,400 tonnes for 25,000 units. Moreover, they can easily be melted down to make new ones.
The Belgian railway manager Infrabel and concrete specialist De Bonte from Waasmunster are jointly responsible for this ecological first for our national and European railways. Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet was also given the honour of symbolically laying down the first innovative sustainable sleeper, in Puurs – also known for the production of the first coronavirus vaccine, the one from Pfizer-BioNTech.
Besides the greening of railway infrastructure, sulphur concrete lends itself to other applications, such as the top layer of certain floors, sewers and wastewater treatment plants. High-quality innovation that can conquer the world.