CORDIS - EU research results

Sustainable production of lightweight thermal concretes and concrete blocks with use of recycled industrial waste for construction of energy-efficient and/or highly seismic-safe masonry buildings

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ELG-blocks (Sustainable production of lightweight thermal concretes and concrete blocks with use of recycled industrial waste for construction of energy-efficient and/or highly seismic-safe masonry buildings)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-06-30

Over 90% of buildings in the EU are masonry buildings that are constructed in the following way: a) ceilings, reinforced concrete walls, beams, columns and foundation are built with ready-mix concretes (RMX-concrete with high density and high thermal conductivity), b) 90% of all walls in buildings are built with clay masonry blocks and c) ceilings of buildings are built with simple system components consisting of load-bearing concrete beams and clay inlay-bricks. The use of clay masonry blocks is ecologically disadvantageous due to their production process (high consumption of energy, CO2e, clay is non-renewable mineral). The best thermal clay blocks of new generation have larger mass, extended thickness, same very low compressive strength and low thermal conductivity as the old generation clay blocks. This mandates the use of larger, heavier, and more expensive load-bearing construction made with reinforced RMX-concrete, leading to increase of construction price of energy-efficient buildings by minimum 40%. The destructive effects of earthquakes cause cracking and collapse of walls made with clay blocks, which leads to a large number of causalities and material damage. As an alternative to clay blocks, a large number of lightweight concrete blocks have been introduced to the market that are light and have low thermal conductivity, but also have low load-bearing capacity and are expensive.
AEDES COOP DOO made innovative, revolutionary and cheap: a) ASET-concretes produced with the use of recycled industrial waste and b) ELG-blocks in three basic variations: thermal ELG-blocks, super strong ELG-blocks for walls and ELG-inlay-bricks for ceilings of energy-efficient and seismic-resistant masonry buildings. They are the best substitutes for clay and other masonry blocks and traditional RMX-concretes for the construction of buildings. The construction of buildings with our innovative products provides the following advantages and the EU added value that cannot be matched by any of our competitors: 1) an excellent thermal insulation and a high resistance to destructive earthquake and wind forces, 2) the construction time is reduced by 30% and 3) construction elements are 50% lighter, lowering transportation costs and construction price in Serbia by more than 20%, or by 40% in the EU. Revolutionary new design of ELG-blocks enables masonry walls in buildings to be reinforced with rebar, thereby allowing the walls built with ELG-blocks to have excellent load-bearing capacity just as reinforced RMX-concrete walls molded in concrete forms on site. Since ASET-concretes are resistant to the impacts of salt and moisture through their whole volume, they are excellent solution for construction of new and repair of old damaged bridges, by 50% cheaper than at competitors.
All AW-granulates, ASET-concretes, ELG-blocks and ELG-inlay-bricks satisfy all EU ecological standards from production, through use, until and including disposal. Savings and gains in production of ASET-concretes, ELG-blocks and ELG-inlay-bricks make them superior to our competitors because their production saves energy, as there is no baking phase involved and is furthermore sustainable, because it preserves environment through lack of any CO2e and use of various types recycled waste instead of natural resources (thereby reducing landfills). ASET-concretes, ELG-blocks and ELG-inlay-bricks save energy required for heating and/or cooling because they act like additional thermal insulation in the building.
During our project we carried out the following tasks and achieved important results: 1) we proved our calculations regarding costs and profitability of initiation of production and commercialization of ASET-concretes and ELG-blocks in Serbia and other markets (region, EU); 2) we chose the best marketing and advertising strategy for brand building that will present superiority of our innovation in the best light when compared to the brands of competitors; 3) we prepared documentation required for production of complete ASET-concretes portfolio and ELG-blocks assortment; 4) we studied laws of the target countries on the region and the EU where we want to fill patent applications in the next Phase 2 (after filing the patent application in Serbia we have priority the protection of 1 year filing patent applications in the target countries of the region and the EU); 5) we received a number of offers and identified four best offerors of the necessary equipment for high-volume serial production of ELG-blocks and ELG-inlay-bricks that we would need to purchase: the equipment for production of lightweight granulate, vibration press and molds; and 6) we identified possible effective and profitable distribution channels in the region and in the EU. We submitted registration for the Europe Enterprise Network wherein we expressed our intention to look for strategic partners in Austria and Germany. We attended several conferences at the Serbian Chambers of Commerce as well as the Export Day event on 26 June 2017 in Vienna organized by the Austrian Chambers of Commerce, where we opened several negotiations on starting potential cooperation projects.
The analyses and calculations included in our feasibility study revealed that our project ELG-blocks is feasible. Moreover, with the financial help due to high initial investments, the project is profitable with a short period of the return of the investments. Profit generated with production of other ELG-blocks is slightly lower, within the range of 20%÷35%. Our sale prices on the markets of Serbia and region are lower than the prices of our largest competitors by 15%÷40%, while our ELG-blocks have similar thermal conductivity, 3 times higher compressive strength and 2 times lower weight.
Our goal is to capture minimum 6% on the markets for construction concretes and masonry blocks in Serbia. In addition, in the target countries of the EU we will start production of our innovative products together with our local business partners. The expected period of return of the investment is 2÷3 years. Market potential in the region is ca. 10 times and in the EU ca. 100 larger. Our preliminary goal is to capture 6% of the markets of Montenegro and Croatia and 1% of the target EU markets. We need: 1) access to the financing, for both starting and carrying out production and for IP protection in the EU and key countries of the region and 2) strategic partners for carrying of our project in the EU countries, 3) in addition to the direct sale of ASET-concretes and ELG-blocks on the markets of Serbia, region and the EU, we also opted for selling licenses to our EU partners.
We are going to provide significant momentum to industrial development and creation of new jobs as well as the following benefits to the broader society: landfills of industrial waste and their management costs will be decreased; the consumption of natural gas and other natural resources, as well as the damage to the environment due to their extraction will be reduced; the CO2e will decline; the consumers will be able to construct significantly cheaper energy-efficient buildings; the stability and safety of newly constructed buildings in the regions prone to strong earthquakes and wind blasts is going to be significantly increased.
The direct ecological benefit of the innovation on annual level of a plant that produces 18000 ELG-blocks per day is consumption of 6450÷8900t of recycled industrial wastes. The indirect ecological benefit on annual level due to production of 4320000 ELG-blocks per year are reductions of the consumption of natural gas by 87600m3, natural granulate (gravel, sand and stone) by 46000t and CO2e by 17885t (compared with the production of clay masonry units). With help of ELG-blocks, we economically build low-energy buildings, whereby we reduce consumption of natural granulate by 50%÷90%, and clay masonry units by 100% and cement by 15%. The company also intends to license the manufacturing process allowing partner countries to produce ELG-blocks using their own waste, thus reducing the carbon footprint further. ELG-blocks and ASET-concretes have high performance features: low mass, high compressive strength, low thermal conductivity and high resistance to water and moisture. Thanks to these characteristics, walls made of super strong ELG-blocks do not break, crack, and not fall down, thereby significantly contributing to the overall stability and safety of buildings, thereby making their load-bearing capacity and stability equal to the best reinforced concrete walls built on site. The construction of the walls of energy-efficient and seismic-safe buildings is 2 times faster and cheaper than at our competitors.