Ben W James, Founder & CEO, GRT.
W e see that our innovative infrastructure development technologies are essential to deliver the economic growth that quality transport infrastructure can deliver, says Ben W James, Founder & CEO, GRT.
Could you provide an overview of road technologies being provided by GRT in India?
The road sector in India is in desperate need of new technologies, not only to improve speed and quality, but also to introduce more environmentally friendly construction techniques and to cut down on quarrying, transportation of materials and use of water and fuel.
GRT India is providing several technologies not seen before in India. These include:
In light of numerous infra developments happening in the country, how do you visualise the market size for your solutions and technologies?
India is a country on the move! We see that our innovative infrastructure development technologies are essential to deliver the economic growth that quality transport infrastructure can deliver. From in-situ stabilisation, dust and erosion control, and mine management technologies, GRT has products, processes and plant to help deliver results.
India has an existing road network of over 4,689,842 km, the second largest road network in the world. Most of these roads are in poor condition and need rehabilitation and constant maintenance. The government is also widening and extending these existing highways and state expressways.
Of course, the ambitious targets in both road and mining sectors will drive the growth of GRT India - however there needs to be faster take-up and approval of proven technologies - otherwise the targets set seem to be challenging.
For instance, GRT can rehabilitate failed pavements at a speed of up to 1 km per day using CIPR technology - we currently have only three sets of our specialised road trains in India - we should have 100 working flat out by now in a market the size of India, but take-up is slow.
The larger road builders are taking up CIPR in a big way now, through a need for speed and quality for their Toll Roads and BOT projects. However, we have seen the opposite in government sector with a refusal to take up these technologies or allow new companies into the space.
India will need investment of $1.7 trillion on infrastructure projects before 2020 to meet its economic needs, for the most part this will go into upgrading India´s road network. So we have taken the view that technologies like ours and our services will be in great demand.
In the mining sector, the Coal & Steel Committee has taken the decision to look into dust mitigation seriously and they have approved the trial of dust suppression technologies. This is a step in the right direction and will be key in increasing productivity, improving road safety and in addressing environmental issues such as air pollution and water wastage.
What are application segments you are currently focusing on?
In dust control space, how do you dispose the dust?
We do not dispose of the dust, but seal and bind the soil particles using our polymer products. GRT has developed its dust control technologies so that they are simple to use, highly effective, and increase in cost-effectiveness over time. In addition to this, they can deliver these benefits using existing or readily available equipment such as water trucks, cannons, and overhead spray bar systems.
GRT´s dust control technologies fall into two main categories:
Tough, polymer-based technology that is sprayed from a water cart or cannon onto the dust generating surface whether it be a road, hardstand or material stockpile. Our polymer dries and forms a stable layer of bonded material resistant to heavy traffic, wind erosion, rainfall impact and overland flow, plus pedestrian and animal traffic.
Non-drying and non-setting, synthetic fluid designed to adsorb into soil particles preventing them from becoming airborne. GRT Wet-Loc is a long-lasting, totally waterless application that is ideally suited to underground mining roads, areas of heavy damaging traffic such as tracked machinery routes, and race tracks (speedways and even horse and camel tracks). Proven to work effectively under extreme weather conditions on a wide variety of soil types and raw material stockpiles, GRT´s range of specially formulated, polymer-based dust suppression products not only prevent the generation of dust, but also stabilise the road surface.
They can be deployed quickly and easily, without any negative impacts on the environment and solve the problem of dust impacting on fruit, cropping, and feed viability in the horticultural and agricultural sectors.
Conventional dust suppression methods waste water, contaminate runoff, contain hazardous chemicals, reduce road stability, impact driver safety and increase costs. Not so with GRT dust control solutions. GRT´s environmentally and safety friendly products result in excellent dust prevention and higher quality, more durable roads. Customer feedback and independent scientific analysis found that GRT´s dust suppression products suppress greater than 95 per cent of dust particles and delivered up to 75 per cent cost savings compared to conventional water-only options. GRT´s technology solves a range of dust control problems on all types of roads, from major highways and freeways to haulage, industrial and rural roads, tarmacs, hardstand areas and water repellent pavements. It can be easily applied to clay, silt, sand and gravel materials, immediately creating safer, more sustainable and cost-effective infrastructure.
Compared to conventional processes, GRT´s dust suppression solutions offer a set of distinct advantages and lucrative benefits, including easy application and long life protection across extreme climatic conditions. Our products also offer the toughness and flexibility to be applied across a diverse spectrum of industries, improving safety and eliminating dust complaints from staff and surrounding landholders.
Apart from the longer-term maintenance efficiencies, savings can also be achieved from the significant reduction of windborne material losses. Plus, as a non-toxic product with a low carbon footprint, it offers further environmental protection by reducing the damage caused by fugitive dust.
What are the equipment requirements for implementing your technologies?
Apart from our manufacturing techniques, we have state-of-the-art machines that act as our work horses in the field. Including, road recyclers and stabilisers, automated spreading machines, 20 MT pad foot rollers and others.
Most of these machines are being seen for the first time in India and are only found in GRT´s stable. They are high-cost but high-output machines with high automation and sophistication. They are electronically calibrated so that consistent results are met and there is zero room for mistakes. GRT plans to make them mainstream in India and is planning a massive capital expenditure program to meet demand over the next 10 years.
Could you explain the benefits and cost perspective of implementing GRT solutions?
In terms of road construction, we can see significant project savings due to: Speed, Less maintenance and No need for borrow material. In terms of polymer roads for the mining industry.
How can your solutions be used as a business case by your target customers?
The major business case to use our tech in road rehabilitation is speed. We can bring in projects on time, usually well before construction deadlines. This in-turn means significant savings in terms of project financing and less interest paid on funding packages.
In terms of mine haulage roads, we keep the roads open longer (during rains and heat) which means productivity spikes and more commodities can be delivered to market - the cost benefit ratio is massive in terms of dollars earned from properly maintained road assets.