MasterEase Optimizes Concrete for ‘Tunnel de Champel’ in Geneva

The “Tunnel de Champel” in Geneva, Switzerland is expected to connect the main station in Geneva with the French city of Annemasse starting in 2019.

During the construction of the “Tunnel de Champel” in Geneva, MasterEase from Master Builders Solutions proved to be the perfect superplasticizer for sprayed concrete. MasterEase reduces the viscosity of the concrete, making it less sticky and therefore easier to pump and apply. This is a significant advantage for sprayed concrete applications. MasterEase UG 3904 increases the workability time and, when applied, the concrete hardens more evenly on the tunnel wall.

Thanks to the use of MasterEase, the Swiss tunneling contractor Marti Tunnelbau AG was able to switch to a more economical cement for the construction of the “Tunnel de Champel.” Initially, the change in cement presented some challenges: “The combination of the new cement and the old superplasticizer created problems due to the reduced open time,” said Nicole Kölbener, construction manager at Marti Tunnelbau. “After only one hour, the flowability was no longer sufficient.”

René Bolliger, Head of Underground Construction at BASF for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, recommended to the tunneling specialist and the cement supplier Holcim that the MasterEase UG 3904 superplasticizer should be added.

Kölbener is pleased with the outcome: “Thanks to MasterEase UG 3904, we have found a product that works extremely well with the concrete used and has enabled us to change the cement source, thereby increasing our profitability by five percent.”

Fabien Cerf, Head of Sales Geneva at Holcim Switzerland, stresses the environmental benefit: “We now have the optimal situation where the cement comes from a cement plant that is only a few kilometers away.” This eliminates the need for the 350-km journey to the old cement plant. “By changing the cement, we have been able to reduce costs and achieve a 6 percent saving in CO2,” says Cerf.

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For Bolliger, the successful outcome of this project shows how important it is for all project partners to cooperate closely: “This is precisely where our strength lies. We provide our customers with on-site support and are always available. As a result, we are able to work together in challenging situations to find the best solution.”

The success story of MasterEase UG 3904 in the “Tunnel de Champel” is part of the “Quantified Sustainable Benefits – Reduce Your Footprint and Boost Your Bottom Line” sustainability campaign from Master Builders Solutions. This campaign was rolled out across Europe in 2017 and focuses on projects that have enabled customers to improve their productivity while reducing costs and environmental impacts thanks to BASF’s advanced chemistry.

In conjunction with its European customers, the Master Builders Solutions experts at BASF use ad motifs and a dedicated website to showcase specific scenarios where high-quality chemistry increases productivity, lowers operating costs and reduces environmental impacts for the customer. Thanks to externally validated assessment tools such as BASF’s Eco-Efficiency Analysis or Life Cycle Analyzer, these achievements can be quantified.

The “Tunnel de Champel” is part of the CEVA project. The rail route will connect the Cornavin station in Geneva with Eaux-Vives and Annemasse in France and is expected to commence operation in 2019.

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