Comparison of quay wall designs in concrete, steel, wood and composites with regard to the CO2-emission and the Life Cycle Analysis

More Info


This thesis focuses on quay wall structures in the Port of Rotterdam. A quay wall is a soil retaining structure where ships can moore and transfer goods. Over the centuries the developments in quay wall structures have been tremendous, due to increasing ship dimensions, loads and crane designs. Next to that climate change is a hot topic nowadays. The building sector is one of the sectors which have a large impact on the environment. Constructing durable and sustainable throughout the entire life cycle is becoming more and more important. CO2-emission is a widely excepted parameter to estimate sustainability. Besides CO2 many other environmental effects, so called impact categories, have an impact on air, water and soil, which can be shown with help of a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). In this thesis the impact on the environment of a quay wall constructed in four different materials is analyzed. These materials are: concrete, steel, wood and composites. To make a good comparison, the designs must be based on the same requirements and boundary conditions. For this purpose the quay wall of the Euromax Terminal is used. Several types of quay wall structures have been studied and their main dimensions have been determined. This resulted in a retaining wall in combination with a concrete L-shaped relieving structure. The stability of the structure is guaranteed by a combination of mv-piles and vibro-piles. In this design the retaining wall is constructed in the four different materials: concrete diaphragm wall, steel combi wall, wooden wall of Azobé elements and a Fiber Reinforced Polymer sandwich panel. Next a cost estimation of the four designs has been made. Finally the CO2-emission of each structure is determined. This Carbon Footprint has been calculated with two different databases. Furthermore the emissions of several other impact categories have been determined. They represent emissions due to pollution to air, water and soil, depletion and land use. Using monetization as a weighing factor, the so called “shadow prices” of each structure can be calculated. These costs represent the costs for the preventive measures that must be taken to reduce the emissions to a sustainable level.