May 16, 2020

High Speed Two looking for track and electrification contractors

Sophie Chapman
2 min
Government looking for contractors for HS2
High Speed Two (HS2), the designed high-speed railway in the UK, has launched its search for contractors to develop the project.

The hired contractors...

High Speed Two (HS2), the designed high-speed railway in the UK, has launched its search for contractors to develop the project.

The hired contractors will work on Phase One of the HS2, linking London and Birmingham, and Phase 2a, between Birmingham and Crewe.

The government are looking for work on the track and overhead catenary system works, estimating the costs at £1.55bn (US$2.21bn).

This package will manage construction and testing of the HS2 track as it links the destinations.

On completion of Lot 1 will see the operator take over for a trail running phase of the line.

The UK’s government also require contractors for Lot 2, which has been estimated to cost £330mn ($469.5mn).


Lot 2 will cover the tunnel and lineside mechanical & electrical and tunnel ventilation works – working on design, installation, testing, and commissioning.

The contractors will specifically work on safety equipment, such as tunnel ventilation fans, lighting, handrails, fire safety equipment and tunnel alarm systems.

“We’re looking for the smartest, most cost effective solutions that the industry has to offer through these contracts, which form part of the overall railway system for HS2,” stated Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd.

“These 2 essential contracts are fundamental to HS2 operating safely, reliably and efficiently for the millions of people who will use and come to depend on it.”

“Once complete, HS2 will transform rail travel in the UK, providing extra capacity and improved connectivity between our major cities and act as a catalyst for growth across the UK.”

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Jul 30, 2021

University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building

2 min
The Technical University of Dresden, collaborating with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the world’s first carbon fibre and concrete building

The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel. 

The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university. 

The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.

Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel. 

The design and shape of The Cube 

According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.

"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction. 

"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement. 

Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint

While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry. 


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