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A new integrated process to valorise hazardous leaded glass from CRTs and transform it into high performance geopolymer blocks - VirtuCrete

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VirtuCrete (A new integrated process to valorise hazardous leaded glass from CRTs and transform it into highperformance geopolymer blocks - VirtuCrete)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2015-12-31

Concrete is a ubiquitous building material & is the second most widely demanded commodity after water. Concrete is made by combining graded aggregates and Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). It is estimated that the production of OPC for concrete accounts for 5% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. OPC is produced by heating limestone to very high temperatures in a kiln. Approximately 60% of CO2 released during production of cement occurs during the calcination reaction; the balance arising from the energy required to heat the kilns to drive the calcination process.

Virtus has sought to address the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions in concrete production by making VirtuCrete, a low carbon geopolymer concrete mix for use in giant interlocking concrete blocks. These blocks have many uses in various industries and the demand for them is growing.

Crucially, Virtus seek to produce VirtuCrete from as close to 100% recycled materials as possible. This includes the use of alternative alkali activators from waste streams using a novel low temperature method. VirtuCrete is designed to equal or outperform OPC concrete in all key performance characteristics and yet be available to the market at a price point that is commercially attractive.

The primary objective of the Phase 1 study was to investigate whether it was feasible to achieve the goals outlined above from all of the aspects required to make VirtuCrete blocks a technical and commercial success.
To further the objective of bringing VirtuCrete to the market, Virtus has undertaken a comprehensive study to assess the technical feasibility of the process and the plant & equipment required to do it. Virtus has commissioned early stage technical designs for the plant and commissioned experiments to understand how feedstocks will behave in VirtuCrete. Virtus has undertaken detailed market research to understand the market and customer drivers so that the approach can be tailored to their needs. Virtus has studied the regulatory environment in order to understand the drivers and requirement for the waste streams that can be incorporated into the product. Lastly, Virtus has built a team of highly skilled talented people and developed relationships with expert partners who can help bring VirtuCrete to market across the EU.
The new technology and methods could enable EU waste recyclers and concrete block producers to co-operate to solve multiple waste stream problems and to increase competitiveness through new products, to gain market share and capitalise on new business opportunities creating jobs and economic activity across the EU along the way.

The socio-economic benefits will be manifold with upwards of 700,000 tonnes of waste per year avoiding landfill, instead becoming useful products and tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide being saved from release into the atmosphere and the impacts that will have on global warming.