The construction of an underground tunnel for a new particle accelerator would produce 10 million cubic metres of excavation materials.
Such materials are usually treated as waste. However, they have a market value that could potentially reach hundreds of millions of euros. The FCC study and world leaders in the sector of tunnel construction are working to develop technologies that would enable materials from this source to be reused in industry. An international competition was launched in 2021 to seek ideas for applications aimed at recovering the rock excavated during the digging of the tunnels to accommodate the future CERN colliders.
In all construction projects, the excavated materials include raw materials of a certain value. A new cross-border particle accelerator project would represent an ideal pilot for the creation of the technology and the legal framework needed to allow these materials to be reused.
Civil engineering work for the HL-LHC project at CERN’s Point 1 was completed in 2021. CERN’s HiLumi is the High Luminosity LHC Project aiming to increase the collision rate as to maximise physics data taking of its detectors while also providing useful data that can direct future searches at the FCCs.