Identifying perspectives for innovative construction waste recycling

by Beton-Betz

SeRaMCo aims at upcycling construction waste such as concrete, bricks, tiles and ceramics to turn them into valuable secondary raw materials for the production of concrete precast products. Such products should eventually be equal in terms of quality and price to those made from primary raw materials. New cutting-edge technologies are required to innovatively recycle construction site waste and to evaluate the general feasibility and relevance based on prototypes. Beton-Betz’s involvement within SeRaMCo focuses mainly on:

- Developing innovative recycling methods for the end-product plants;

- Developing new and optimized mixed-concrete formulas using recycled gravel and sand;

- Selecting suitable types of pre-cast concrete to apply the new formulas.

When it comes to practical application of knowledge, Germany has extensive requirements in place which need to be met. The most important ones are the building regulations of the federal states, which are based on the so-called Model Administrative Provisions – Technical Building Rules (MVV TB). Beton-Betz’s work is mainly affected by the provisions regarding the Effects on Soil and Water (ABuG) and by the building regulation demands on structural installations. 

German Partners are currently investigating the planned actions concerning the release of hazardous substances for rooftop and wall elements. Concrete test instructions will be presented at the end of the first project phase.

Beton-Betz also carried out a feasibility study concerning the potential application of mobile recycling systems, which – depending on the amount of secondary raw material or surplus production – can be used on-site to prevent the untreated waste material from being transported to a recycling plant. However, due to the dust and noise produced, the implementation of mobile systems must comply with the German Federal Pollution Control Act (BImSchG) and they require a licence that indicates a substantial modification of an established process. The compliance and license requirements are currently being investigated.

Given this situation, a Best Practice Analysis becomes of prior importance. To remain competitive, a mobile crusher has to be used for one week and treat approximately 3,000 tonnes of material in the concrete precast components plant. Further two weeks of operation time are required for primary crushing and removing the building steel. In the coming months, the target is to reduce the size of the aggregate produced as well as the duration of the process itself, since it emits a significant level of noise and dust.

Along with the equipment technology, Beton-Betz tested the recycling material currently available on the market (authorised crushed gravel and crushed sand) by introducing different mixed-concrete formulas which were developed together with the Quality Control Association. Based on the newly installed concrete mixing plant at Beton Betz in 2017, larger amounts of crushed sand should not pose any critical issue. The first results are going to be shared with partners from neighbouring countries later this year.

Figure 1. The new mixing plant allows an ideal perspective on recycled concrete

Figure 2. Mobile deployment of a simple crusher for pre-crushed concrete pipes.

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