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Cost-Effective Recycling of CDW in High Added Value Energy Efficient Prefabricated Concrete Components for Massive Retrofitting of our Built Environment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VEEP (Cost-Effective Recycling of CDW in High Added Value Energy Efficient Prefabricated Concrete Components for Massive Retrofitting of our Built Environment)

Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2018-03-31

Growing interest in green buildings and circular economies is encouraging the consumption of high-grade secondary raw materials in the building sector. Recent studies on the characterization of diverse C&DW samples at European level revealed that the predominant material constituent is concrete. At the other extreme, there are minor (e.g. glass) and emerging (e.g. mineral wool) C&DW materials, but revealing growing rates till 2030, as consequence of the European regulations on building energy efficiency and building retrofitting. In global terms, those emerging C&DW streams have not yet found technological and business solutions along with their whole circular supply chain, being mostly landfilled. In addition, there are other uncertainties, for example those related to health regulations, that must be in-depth studied.
In this context the main objective of VEEP is to develop and demonstrate a series of technological solutions for the massive retrofitting of our built environment, aiming at cost – effectively reducing building energy consumption. The closed loop approach will be demonstrated in two Demo sites in Spain (Madrid) and The Netherlands (Hoorn) thus in different climatic conditions.
In particular the project leads to higher resource efficiency in 2 novel multilayer Precast Concrete Elements (PCEs) through the combination of concrete and superinsulation material manufactured by using, at least, 75% (by weight) of C&DW recycled materials, as raw materials.
The 2 PCEs solutions will be conceived both for new building envelope and for building refurbishment. The ambition of the VEEP project relates to different aspects, both to the technological & new processes development and to new materials & products development enabling the realization of a virtuous circular economy loop in the building sector.
VEEP will create cost-effective advanced recycling technologies guaranteeing high quality and health-safety mineral resources for use in both new concrete and aerogel composites – to be embedded in novel PCEs – thereby fostering circular economy solutions for concrete and insulation materials.
In relation to the project development in the first 18 months of the project R&D advancements related to the technological development for the production of aggregates and micro fibers and the consolidation of materials/manufacturing development. In particular in relation to technological development a Patent about concrete recycling is pending and the following four different technological advancement have been provided
1. Advanced Drying Recovery (ADR) redesigned for modular construction and efficient onsite transportability and light weight (LW) concrete recycling. An ADR facility with a capacity of 50 tones/h is assembled in Hoorn (the Netherlands) to fulfil the mobility requirements and requires seven working days to dismantle and assemble it again. A new design to fit the truck reducing the assembling/disassembling from 7 days to 1 day has now been done.
2. Innovative mobile Heating-Air classification System (HAS) Pilot Plant set up. A novel HAS pilot plant (3ton/hour) is now ready at TUD laboratories. The Has technology at lab scale has shown to improve quality properties of the ultrafine recycled particles in an important way for its application as an addition in new green cements.
3. Combined ADR + HAS technology for simultaneous production of recycled concrete particles. Construction and demolition sites usually generate large heaps of CDWs. The cost and energy required to transport these wastes to the nearby landfill or processing facility is simply enormous and not sustainable. The integration would also help to commercialize recycled demolition aggregates at a competitive price.
4. Ultra-fine wet grinding and health-safety refining technology. Evolved cost-effective ultra-fine wet grinding and refining technology have been developed for the production of recycled mineral fibers and particles for new concrete and new “green” aerogel manufacturing. The associated activities enabled to generate new knowledge on the characteristics and potential effects of the diverse upgraded recycled fractions and on health-safety issues.
Two main novel green materials typologies are under development:
- Concrete: In relation to the concrete production different types of concrete are under study: Normal Weight (NW) and Light Weight (LW). Deep aggregates characterization for Coarse, Fine and Ultrafine Recycled Concrete Aggregates (Siliceous, Limestone and Light Weight) has been undertaken.
- Aerogel. Experimental activities conducted to discard the mineral wool and glass waste for the implementation in the aerogel fabrication process but Siliceous Concrete Waste (SCW) fractions are the most promising materials for the preparation of aerogel-based materials.

In relation to the manufacturing development:
• It’s been finalized the optimization at lab scale of the cost-effective process for the fabrication of water-glass solutions from silica-rich C&DW recycled materials.
• The water-glass solutions (obtained from the recycled materials) have been successfully employed for the preparation of aerogel composites with very low thermal conductivity.
• It’s been designed the production for the plastic form work embedding the 3D technology

Finally Eco-design for the PCEs has been finalized reaching the technical, regulatory and market specifications. In parallel to the eco-design of the PCEs themselves, a specific work was carried out on the anchoring and connecting systems to define a range of existing solutions and assess the possibilities for disassembling.
"The first C&DW recycling era encompassed traditional crushing and screening technologies for use in low grade application as embankments and roads. Nevertheless in the future it is expected to grow the demand for high-grade secondary raw materials. In this sense VEEP project will enable to provide new technological advancements covering the whole building life that can provide high quality secondary raw material suitable for new building products development (i.e. Precast concrete elements). In particular the main exploitable innovation in VEEP relates to new cost-effective technological solutions/processes and novel cost-effective and “greener” materials/products that will trigger a number of impacts as:
• CO2 savings (by min. 30 %), energy savings (by min 20%), and higher resource efficiency as such contributing to a resource-efficient and climate change resilient economy;
• Creation of new value chains by expanding the size and attractiveness of C&DW recycling and reuse for energy efficient buildings construction and refurbishment, properly tackling non-technological barriers;
• Contribution to achieving the objectives of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials, in particular to the relevant impacts shown in Action I.5 ""Recycling of raw materials from products, buildings and infrastructure"" of the Strategic Implementation Plan;
• Contribution with viable technologies, with high replication potential, to significantly change practices of the construction industry towards circular economy practices;
• Improvement of innovation capacity of the construction sector to stimulate new growth and jobs creation.
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