Challenge N°6

Maintenance of green areas of industrial sites without chemical weedkillers

Background

GRTgaz is a player resolutely engaged in preserving its environment and we want to make sure that the impacts of our industrial activity are as low as possible.

GRTgaz operates, in France, 32,456 km of buried networks but also more than 10,000 above-ground facilities. Studies have been made regarding the maintenance of the strips of land located above our buried pipes to optimise the positive impact they can make to biodiversity.

GRTgaz now wants to revise its practices in this regard for its above-ground facilities.

These sites regularly undergo weed control to ensure that the sites are kept clear and to maintain full accessibility to them.

Issue

What new solution, satisfying GRTgaz’s requirements would allow us to discontinue using chemical weedkillers to maintain its above-ground facilities?

 

At GRTgaz, maintenance services are subcontracted to accredited service providers use conventional solutions. We wish to use alternative solutions that have the same level of effectiveness.

Currently, ten or so alternative techniques (soil artificialisation, manual or mechanical weeding, eco grazing, hot water with, possibly, additives) have been tested on more than 180 sites. These solutions are technically efficient but do not give full satisfaction from an economic point of view and cannot be used on all our sites. Aware of the health and environmental issues, GRTgaz wishes to continue its efforts to be able to dispense with the use of chemical weedkillers.

Objectives

GRTgaz is looking for proposals of solutions that can be used everywhere which will mean chemical weedkillers can be dispensed with which take account of the specificities of our facilities such as:

 

– The presence of ATEX areas (potentially explosive atmosphere)

– Large number of sites, with often very small areas (most of our sites are from 10 to a few hundreds of square meters – average area of 200 m²; but we also operate 30 industrial sites whose surface areas are as large as ten hectares).

– The presence of industrial facilities, in particular buried and above-ground steel pipe networks

 

To be viable, the solutions must be economically and operationally realistic. We also consider their use of as little energy as possible to be important. These criteria will be taken into account in the final assessment of this challenge and will therefore have to be included in your submission.

Issues

The issues are both environmental and sanitary: pollution of water, air, food, impact on the quality of the soil, loss of biodiversity and harmfulness for humans.

This issue is therefore one that is fully in line with the corporate project: GRTgaz wishes to further strengthen its exemplary nature in terms of environmental conduct. Tending towards no use of chemical weedkillers is thus an important objective for GRTgaz that we wish to establish in our CSR policy (Corporate Social Responsibility).

Value prospects for the winner

Beside the areas needing to be treated on our sites, the need expressed by GRTgaz is very similar to that of other industry players in France and abroad. Implementation on our sites could thus be a good reference. In particular, GRTgaz has regular discussions with various audiences (administrative authorities, associations, industrial players, etc.) during which the solution developed would be emphasised.

Do you have an innovative product or method still in the development phase? Does your product or solution work but your organisation is not large enough to cover the extent of our need? Enter the challenge and propose your solution and we will test it out together!

Volumes / Time scales of the need

There are many areas needing to be treated: GRTgaz operates more than 10,000 facilities in most parts of France, for a total area estimated at more than 1,400 km². Most of our facilities are on small areas (10 to a few hundreds of square metres, on average 200 m²), and 30 of them are much more larger (of around 10 hectares).

GRTgaz wants to make progress quickly in this field. The submissions will thus be tested out quickly before the closing date of the challenge. The data thus collected will be used to support the assessment of the applications submitted.

Closing date: 15/10/2018