Concrete Canvas: Safety, Maintenance and Efficiency

Concrete Canvas® and CC Hydro™ products are used for a wide range of applications on tank farms in the petrochemical and utilities sectors, providing solutions for improved safety, reduced maintenance and increased efficiency, as well as reductions in carbon emissions.

What are Concrete Canvas® and CC Hydro™?

Concrete Canvas Ltd produces a revolutionary and innovative construction material called Concrete Canvas®, a Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mat (GCCM). It is a flexible, concrete-filled geotextile that hardens on hydration to form a thin, durable, waterproof, and fire-resistant concrete layer. Essentially, it’s concrete on a roll.

CC Hydro™, a Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Barrier (GCCB), is a revolutionary containment product, combining the company’s concrete-filled geotextile technology with a highly impermeable, chemically resistant geomembrane backing. The hard armour concrete surface of CC Hydro™ effectively removes the need for concrete, soil or aggregate top cover, normally required with conventional liner systems. CC Hydro™ is available in 5mm and 8mm thicknesses for a wide range of containment applications.

CC and CCH

CC Hydro™ for tank lining in Central Europe

The project

In July 2019, a 5mm thick variant of CC Hydro™ (CC5™) was installed as a remediation solution within a concrete tank in Central Europe.

The tank in question holds varying volumes of digestate on a Biogas plant site. Leakage of digestate was noticed and cracks measuring 0.2mm were found. As a result, the local environment agency demanded that the tank be repaired to prevent further leakage into the local environment.

CC Hydro™ GCCB (Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Barrier) was specified to line the inside of the tank walls in place of a two-step chemical coating due to the humidity levels in the area at the time and within the tank itself.

CC Hydro™ for maintenance and efficiency

Without the addition of an internal lining solution, the client would be required to spend considerable amounts of time and money on a regular basis to repair any cracks or signs of damage that were causing, or would eventually lead to leaks. Not only would significant worker hours be involved to carry out these repairs, but the tank would also need to be emptied and cleaned out each time, taking it out of action for days or weeks at a time on each occasion. In this case, a mortar cement was used to fill in any cracks and the CC Hydro™ material then installed around the entire tank wall.

Due to the material arriving on site ready to use in roll format, there was no mixing or spraying of material involved in the installation process. This meant none of the mess or clean up associated with a sprayed solution was required. CCH could also be cut to required lengths, further eliminating any material wastage and provides a uniform thickness covering, reducing the possibility of areas becoming worn at different rates.

The bulk CCH rolls were delivered on individual pallets via lorry; each pallet of CC or CCH material can directly replace two 17-tonne mixer trucks, while a single container of bulk rolls can be used in place of 34 of those mixer trucks. As a result, there were considerably fewer vehicle movements on site as well as no requirement for heavy machinery to carry out the installation.

Concrete Canvas® bund lining for Elinoil Hellenic Petroleum Company

The project

Concrete Canvas® (CC) was specified as a bund lining solution at a petroleum tank farm in Athens, Greece, owned by Elin Oil Hellenic Petroleum Company SA (Elin Oil).

The client required a bund lining solution which would provide weathering and erosion protection, effective weed suppression and eliminate the risk of fires.

CC was specified to provide an all-in-one bund lining solution as per the client’s requirements. The flexible material was installed in continuous lengths from the crest of the bund slope, along the width of the bund floor for logistical efficiency and to prevent material wastage.

Improving terminal safety and efficiency

Shotcrete was originally considered for this application; however, the health and safety risks associated with a shotcrete installation, such as rebound and potential damage to the sensitive infrastructure on the site, meant an alternative was sought. CC can be installed without having to consider these risks; no post-installation clean-up operation would be required, resulting in further cost savings for the client and any sensitive infrastructure was easily accommodated, with CC cut to fit around pipes and other complex areas using basic hand tools.

Access restrictions meant limited vehicles could be used and transported on-site. CC was delivered to this project site in bulk rolls and deployed using a single crane positioned at the crest of the bund for a safer installation. Vehicle movements to- and on-site were also drastically reduced.

CC for maintenance

Temperatures in Athens often reach 48°C during the summer, increasing the risk of fires starting on the heavily vegetated bunds. This was a serious risk and could be incredibly dangerous in the event of a leak from one of the tanks as the liquids stored on the site are highly flammable. Not only does CC provide the much-needed fire protection solution, but CC’s weed suppression properties will also mitigate any future costly periodic maintenance on the bund and around pipe tracks, where maintenance works are time-consuming, costly and potentially dangerous.

CC Hydro™ for tank floor remediation at UK refinery

The project

In May 2017, CC Hydro™ was used as a retrofit a tank liner as part of a project at a UK refinery. The material, which was specified by IKM Consulting, was installed by Sean Carr Lining Technology for the client.

As Concrete Canvas® products can be installed in a similar way to plastic and geomembrane products, simple off the shelf tools can be used. Prior to installation, the substrate of the tank floor was filled with 75mm Type 1 granular material and then compacted. Sand was then added and compacted, which ensured close contact between the Type 1 material and the surface of the tank floor. CC Hydro™ was then installed on top.

Safety first

There were numerous access issues on the site including a constricted tank with closely spaced jacks and no access for heavy machinery. To work around this and still provide a safe environment for workers, the bulk rolls of a 5mm thick variant of CC Hydro™ (CCH5™) were lowered into the tank bund area and then cut to size for installation.

This project directly improved safety for workers by using CCH5™ as it eliminated the need for hazardous waste to be excavated. This would also have required additional fill material and a costly treatment process.

Reducing maintenance

Following the installation, the layers of CC Hydro™ were thermally welded along the built-in welding strip which allows welding of joints with a double or triple track air channel for fast on-site pressure testing. Not only does this mean the joints can be pressure tested but the presence of a third weld secures the overlying CCH5™ layer to the layer beneath. This ensures a neater finish but also protects the lower membrane of CCH5™ from environmental exposure.

To finish the project, a 50mm layer of bitsand was installed atop the CCH5™, and the contractor then used a vibrating plate to compact it to the required depth and consistency. Finally, a new steel tank floor was installed over the bitsand. Overall, 900m² of CC Hydro was installed. The project took five crew operators only six days to complete.

Concrete Canvas: Improving safety, reducing maintenance and increasing efficiency

The safety and efficiency benefits of using Concrete Canvas® and CC Hydro™ have been proven on projects around the world. Because both CC and CCH arrive on site ready to be installed, there is no need for any mixing equipment. For sites with difficult or limited access points, this is a real advantage over traditional concrete solutions. Furthermore, the speed and ease of installation of both material types make them a great choice when deadlines are tight and a project needs to be finished quickly without compromising on quality and safety.

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