Project start: secondary raw materials for precast concrete products

The recently launched EU-funded SeRaMCo project (Secondary Raw Materials for Concrete Precast Products) involves SySpro founding member Beton-Betz GmbH as the main partner.

Among the industrial sectors in the EU, the construction industry is at the top of the list with respect to raw material consumption. This is where about 50% of available primary raw materials are utilized. Despite existing options for generating recyclable materials from construction waste composed of concrete, brick, tiles and ceramic products, stakeholders still have a long way to go to make this endeavor a guiding mission across Europe since only about 4% of total construction waste is currently being recycled. Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have joined forces in north-western Europe to optimize the recycling of materials in order to achieve more significant resource savings.

EU-funded SeRaMCo project

Under the current circumstances, construction industry stakeholders are facing the challenge of placing their recyclable products on the market. This is exactly where the EU-funded SeRaMCo project starts, with the aim to enable upcycling of construction waste composed of concrete, brick, tiles and ceramics, i.e. the conversion of this waste to as-new products. In so doing, precast elements, concrete products and cements from secondary raw materials should be developed so that they are comparable to conventional products in terms of both price and quality in order to favorably contribute to the economic cycle.

Among other goals, the proj-ect aims to identify prospects for future building material recycling and implementation of a closed-loop approach in the construction industry with a view to the forthcoming regulation to introduce an ordinance on substitute building materials. The industry is at a crossroads in this regard since the current debate is centered around the question if there will be a shift towards more landfill or closed-loop material cycles.

Renowned project partners

Renowned experts from industry and research have entered into a close collaboration in order to arrive at specific outcomes. The project is being led by the Institute of Concrete Structures at TU Kaiserslautern, which cooperates with ten partners, three sub-partners, and three associated partners from the five countries mentioned above. Beton-Betz GmbH is one of the founding members of the SySpro-Gruppe Betonfertigteile association; the company acts as the main partner of the EU-funded project and has thus assumed head responsibility. Bernd Betz, managing director of Beton-Betz GmbH, is firmly committed to implementing schemes for utilizing recycled concrete in continuation of the work on the Environmental Product Declaration for precast concrete floor slabs, for which he has long been a pioneer.

SySpro/Beton-Betz adopts a pioneering role

SySpro-Gruppe Betonfertigteile e. V. operates 15 sites and is thus in a position to ensure that project outcomes can be implemented exceedingly quickly on the shop floor. Through BetonBetz, the association has been involved in the project right from the start. Its large market share provides many opportunities for installing prototypes and implementing further project findings.

The kick-off meeting for this European project was held on 15 June 2017. EU funding amounts to €4.37 million. First pilot proj-ects to push the current boundaries should be implemented by 2020.  Within SeRaMco, finished products should be tested in three pilot regions in Belgium, Germany and France.

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