URBCON - By-products for sustainable concrete in the urban environment


Project Summary

URBCON reduces the use of raw materials and the CO2 emissions from construction and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure in cities.

The URBCON project targets the use of concrete as a building material. With the focus on the metropolitan areas of Ghent, Rotterdam and Northern France, by-products such as metallic slags and incineration ashes are used as alternative raw materials for the production of concrete. Replacing primary raw materials with by-products could save an estimated 84 million tonnes of mineral building materials per year.

The main objectives of the project are:

  1. Development of concretes with 100% by-products (aggregate) as well as with clinker-efficient cements
  2. Networking of by-product providers and construction industry by means of a web-based platform for forecasting availability and considering the logistical chains underlying the construction demand;
  3. Testing of the concretes developed in the project (URBCON concretes) on the basis of three pilot projects (including a school building in Ghent);
  4. Preparation of a Strategic Technology Transfer Plan: proposals for policy frameworks, life cycle assessments, pre-normative work, economic feasibility studies.

The consortium combines world-leading know-how in by-product based construction minerals, supplementary cementitious materials, alkali-activated binders, high-alumina cement, digital mapping of resources, and life cycle assessment and costing.

 


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News and events

Events

Webinar Circular Concrete

18-06-2020 –

At this webinar, the URBCON project partners will give you more insight into the project and the sustainable URBCON concrete. We will use the case 't Centrum, the first circular of... Read more

View more

News

Material passports for a circular economy

Posted on 26-10-2020

When traveling from a linear to a circular economy in the construction industry, take your material passport with you. Read more

URBCON launches tender for Ghent pilot

Posted on 04-12-2020

The City of Ghent launched a tender for the construction of its URBCON pilot case: an evacuation staircase at the school ‘De Zonnepoort’. Read more

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Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
City of Ghent 1 Botermarkt
Ghent
9000
Belgium
line.ostyn@stad.gent https://stad.gent/en
Name Contact Name Email Country
Ghent University Stijn Matthys stijn.matthys@ugent.be Belgium
Urban Development Department, City of Rotterdam Albert Allaart ap.allaart@Rotterdam.nl Netherlands
Delft University of Technology Guang Ye g.ye@tudelft.nl Netherlands
FDN Engineering Dil Tirimanna dtirimanna@fdngroup.nl Netherlands
The University of Sheffield John Provis j.provis@sheffield.ac.uk United Kingdom
Imerys Minerals Limited Deeba Ansari deeba.ansari@imerys.com United Kingdom
ResourceFull Wouter Crijns wouter.crijns@resourcefull.eu Belgium
CWare Birgitte Holt Andersen bgha@cware.be Belgium
VDZ gGmbH Sebastian Palm sebastian.palm@vdz-online.de Germany
Kamp C Marijke Aerts marijke.aerts@kampc.be Belgium
University of Kaiserslautern Wolfgang Breit wolfgang.breit@bauing.uni-kl.de Germany
Arcelor Mittal Belgium Eric De Coninck eric.deconinck@arcelormittal.com Belgium

News



Events


Webinar Circular Concrete

,

At this webinar, the URBCON project partners will give you more insight into the project and the sustainable URBCON concrete. We will use the case 't Centrum, the first circular office building in Belgium, to explain the application of circular concrete in a circular building and circular tendering.
Read More


The URBCON consortium combines world-leading know-how in by-product based construction minerals, supplementary cementitious materials, alkali-activated binders, high-alumina cement, digital mapping of resources, and life cycle assessment and costing.

The City of Ghent and Ghent University are lead partners in the project, uniting 13 partners from 5 countries:

  • Belgium: City of Ghent, Ghent University, ResourceFull BVBA, CWare, Kamp C and ArcelorMittal Belgium NV
  • The Netherlands: Stadsontwikkeling Rotterdam, Technische Universiteit Delft, FDN Engineering
  • Germany: Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, VDZ gGmbH
  • United Kingdom: University of Sheffield, Imerys

 

City of Ghent

The City of Ghent, Belgium’s 2nd largest city, accomodating the 2nd most important Belgian seaport, is boosting sustainability as one of its core values in its mission statement. Next to its common tasks as local authority, Ghent is promoting actively its research centres and spearhead industries. In particular, the recently launched “Cleantech Cluster Ghent”, with a strong focus on the use of waste streams as raw materials, is of major relevance for this project.

The City of Ghent's main role is twofold: 1) lead partner organizing and co-ordinating the international partnership and the communication between the Interreg Secretariat and the project. 2) participant demonstrating the project's products locally in public space. Main actors within the city administration are the Economics Service in the Department of Public Space and Enterprise, and the Strategic Funding Service in the Management Department.

The City of Ghent is taking the formal lead role in the project, in close collaboration with the Ghent University. The organisational and communicative tasks will be implemented by the Strategic Funding Service, which has already a lot of experience in running Interreg projects (e.a.). The Economics Service will contribute to the mapping of by-products, will facilitate the necessary contacts with relevant private companies on our territory to enhance matchmaking, will investigate the possibilities to optimise logistics within the concept of city distribution, and will transnationally develop business models and policy documents, relevant for the NWE region. Both will collaborate to involve other relevant local services, e.g. the Environment & Climate Service for the environmental assesment, and Road Works, Public Space, Facility Management,... to provide suitable, visible and feasable demonstration cases for the innovative concrete developed in the project and to think about how to stimulate the use of the new product(s) in future constructions.

Ghent University

UGent is one of the major universities in Belgium, and top 100 worldwide. DuraBUILDmaterials and i-KNOW are both innovation clusters within Ghent University. The DuraBUILDmaterials cluster targets the construction sector with technologies for durable building materials and structures. i-KNOW drives industrial innovation in Intelligent Information Processing in diverse markets using an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach.

As a research partner, two departments will be involved. UGent DuraBUILDmaterials will study the mechanical and durability performance of the the engineered urbcon concrete mixtures. UGent iKnow will create a web-based platform to map by-products in the real life context of urban environments and related to the logistic chains of the construction activities.

UGent DuraBUILDmaterials will focus on the engineered concrete mix design when using high-aluminate cement, and the sintering of this type of cement with by-products. Moreover, the mechanical and durability performance of the urban concrete mixtures will be investigated experimentally and analytically. This will be in close collaboration with the other research partners. DuraBUILDmaterials will assist City of Gent in the project coördination. i-KNOW UGent will develop state-of-art processing chains for by-products as secondary raw material for urban concrete. Focus is on fast and optimal processing and integration of multimodal raw data with quality preservation, 3D and 4D visualisation and setting up a spatial (web-)platform for URBCON, suited for the urban NWE region. This will be in close collaboration with all partners, and in which a staff member will be hosted at different locations to assist in the territorial analysis of by-products.

Urban Development Department, City of Rotterdam

Urban Development is aiming at an attractive and resilient city, in terms of economical, social and environmental aspects. The department of Engineering Consultants is responsible for the design and construction of sustainable infrastructure and public space in the city. The City Management department, is responsible for the maintenance of the city infrastructure. Several programs on Circular Economy, Smart City, Asset management, Sustainability and Energy are being carried out.

Rotterdam will assist in upscaling the size and complexity of the URBCON technology and in creating the framework for incorporating urban by-product flows in engineered concrete, by means of a pilot.

With the gained knowledge, research results and product development of the URBCON-project, SO Rotterdam will prepare a pilot project, in which an innovative application of the concrete will be demonstrated and/or tested. Our role is to introduce specifications for the application of the concrete and prepare and realize a feasible pilot project. Our intention is to realize a small bridge (for example 18 x 2.5 metres), or equivalent, in the city of Rotterdam. This pilot project contributes to the URBCON-project and will also lead to discussions and experiences on more sustainable composition of concrete, using residues from urban processes. More specified: 1) Featuring a pilot in the Rotterdam area, applying the developed technology with special attention towards upscaling aspects. 2) Facilitate the use of urban by-products from the Rotterdam area, towards urban concrete based products. 3) Assist in the policy framework proposal.

Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive technical university in the Netherlands. The section Materials and Environment/the Microlab is within the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. The mission of Microlab is to accumulate and transmit knowledge relating to the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of materials that may be used for architectural and civil engineering applications.

Materials and Environment (Microlab) of TUDelft leads and contributes to the work package on T2, demonstration URBCON in construction.

As a research partner Microlab studies the micro-structure of the engineered urban concrete, in relation to a robust mix design when using by-products as secondary raw materials in concrete production. In particular they will investigate the combined interaction of low content cement clinker with alkali-activator on the micro-structure of the mortar paste of urban concrete mixtures.

FDN Engineering

FDN is an innovative engineering & construction company located in Amsterdam. FDN was founded in 1996 for product development in Civil Construction. FDN Engineering does consultancy and engineering work and has realised innovative projects (www.fdngroup.nl). Besides regular civil engineering and construction work, FDN also develops new (civil engineering) products.

FDN is famous for design & build of floating structures and Ultrabridges, which have received many international awards. FDN assists in engineering the pilots and in the URBCON transition roadmap activities.

The main task of FDN is being the leader of the design and engineering with the urban concrete and providing engineering assistance for the design and the execution of the pilots. FDN also provides assistance for determining needed lab testing results for design calculations according to standards and regulations, and identifying gaps between current regulations and constructing with the engineered urban concrete. As such they will also give input on the transition roadmap. Given their close involvement with the pilots, they will have a distinct contribution to the outreach tasks and in the preparation of the guidance documents for stakeholders (owners, contractors, architects, engineers, etc.). FDN contributes as well to recommendations for circularity design.

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield (USFD) is in the top ten research-intensive universities in the UK, and offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The cements@Sheffield research team (Materials Science & Engineering) is recognised as a leader in the international construction materials research community as a member of the Nanocem consortium, and forms a key component of the USFD interdisciplinary research centre for Cement & Concrete.

The main role of USFD is in step 1, the development and validation of the concrete mixtures, in close collaboration with the other research partners.

USFD as a research partner is focussing on the durability of engineered urbcon concrete, and will prepare standardisation documents (Prof. Provis chairs the RILEM Technical Committee 247-DTA dedicated to the analysis and testing of alkali-activated materials, , and is a member of BSI and ASTM committees). USFD is taking the lead in joint development of URBCON paste mix design.

Imerys

Imerys Minerals Limited belongs to the Imerys group, which is world leader in mineral-based specialties for industry, delivering high value-added solutions to a great number of industries, ranging from process manufacturing to consumer goods. The Imerys group draws on its understanding of applications, technological knowledge and expertise in materials sciences to deliver solutions by beneficiating its mineral resources, synthetic minerals and formulations.

ResourceFull

ResourceFull is a young company (SME) founded in Belgium in 2015 that actively promotes and supports green building technologies. The company aims to promote industrial ecology by providing creative and realistic solutions for residue streams. ResourceFull offers the necessary tools and knowledge to close the gap between synthesis at the lab and full industrial production, while providing sustainability consulting to members of the building industry.

ResourceFull will focus on the partical application aspects of converting by-products into construction minerals and the implementation of more sustainable cement-binder technologies. They will also look into hybrid binder technology of clinker + by-products + activator.

ResourceFull has substantial expertise in the field of the residue valorisation, more precisely in the incorporation/application of these residue streams in (high added value) building products. In the past, ResourceFull was involved in the production of a set of real size building materials prototypes (bricks, tiles, tabletop), organised a range of full industrial experiments, introducing inorganic polymers in the supply chain, as well as produced an ultra-high strength staircase made of fibre-reinforced inorganic polymer. ResourceFull will apply this knowledge base in the URBCON project. Their main task is the industrial scale dimension of Portland cement with high replacement level on by-products, and whereby the latter is activated with the addition of an alkali-activator. This yields a hybrid cement technology, which combines the low environmental impact of alkali activated materials, with the benefits of traditional cement technology. They will assist in the industrial scale concrete technology for the pilots. Given these tasks, they will have also a dedicated role in the transition roadmap and outreach activities.

CWare

CWare offers economic, policy assessment and environmental services for EU, NGOs, Industry Associations and other corporations. CWare is expert in conducting socio-economic analysis, cost-benefit analysis, feasibility studies, LCA, market and strategic analysis, and scenario techniques. They have been successful in applying such methods to a range of sectors, including Environment and R&D.

The main role of CWare within URBCON is the economic viability assessment of the engineered urban concrete and the exploitation plan aspects of the transition roadmap.

CWare will be responsible for LCA, Business Case and wider societal benefits with respect to the URBCON technology. As part of their tasks they will establish an exploitation plan / transition roadmap, whereby the mapped by-products and construction needs are translated in a vision for business opportunities. More specific the following product types will be evaluated in terms of economic viability and environmental impact: urban cement type 1 (Portland cement with high replacement level on by-products and assisted with an activator), urban cement type 2 (high alumina cement produced with by-products), urban aggregates (by-product based aggregates suited for concrete applications at replacement levels of at least 50%), ready-mix concrete with urban cement and aggregates, and prefabricated products with urban concrete. These will be basically considered as business to business products. To also consider a business to consumer product, urban concrete pre-mix for sale in retail stores, will be considered. Amongst others, the LCA aspect will be in close collaboration with the other partners.

VDZ gGmbH

The non-profit organisation VDZ gGmbH pools the joint activities of German cement manufacturers in order to promote knowledge, technology and research and development in the field of manufacture and use of hydraulic binders. Its research institute is known for its practical research and extensive portfolio of services involving cement and concrete for 140 years.

VDZ will focus on the technology translation and implementation aspects of the engineered urban concrete transition roadmap and on LCA calculations.

VDZ chairs CEN Technical Committee 104 (Concrete and related products), preparing the new draft of EN 206, the European standard with regard to “Concrete – Specification, Performance, Production and Conformity”. With this expertise concerning concrete and standardisation, VDZ is uniquely qualified to fulfil the pre-standardisation tasks in the transition roadmap. VDZ will give input in the guidance documents for stakeholders (especially related to the cement and concrete construction materials industry), and the outreach activities in the project. They will also calculate LCAs for cements and concretes developed in T2-workpackage and the longterm-workpackage.

Kamp C

The mission of Kamp C is the acceleration of the transition towards a sustainable society, with a focus on the built environment. One of the aims is to help the built environment adapt towards a circular economy, and KC is involved in various projects about this topic. Kamp C is developing a circular building (short term) and a circular built business park (mid-long term). Kamp C is a growing organisation, involved in various circular building projects, and in a lot of EU projects.

Kamp C will contribute to the communication & dissemination and the long-term effects package. Kamp C will also be one of the investment partners, with a small scale demo and a larger pilot at its site in Westerlo. For the investment KC will work closely with all implementation partners. Kamp C is experienced in having a communicative role and showcasing sustainability and innovation in the built environment.

Kamp C will be taking part in URBCON in several ways:

  • Contribute to project management, attend meetings, give input for the reports.
  • Assist with all the activities in the long-term package, with a focus on the Flemish region and province of Antwerp + have an small exposition element for the pilot & demo from the investment package.
  • Kamp C will assist with the communication in the project. For this we will use our current websites (kampc.be & dewijkvanmorgen.be – 18 500 visitors in 2017), newsletters (80 000 newsletters sent (#receivers x newsletters sent), and our social media accounts. We will also assists with the public events and host two inspiration pubs. We will give input for and assist with the start-up activities, publications and digital activities.
  • Kamp C already has a small business park and is further developing this towards a circular built park. The demo and pilot from URBCON fit perfectly in this development. We will make together with the implementation partners 4 large inter-connectable blocks showcasing 4 URCBON technologies. This will be constructed by other partners and brought to Kamp C. Furthermore, we will have a larger demo with modular Urbcon walls. This will be built in ‘t Centrum, the first circular office building in Flanders.

University of Kaiserslautern

TUK is the sole Technology and Natural Sciences Univ. in the state R-P. The research areas of the Institute for Construction Material Technology are: concrete technology, rheology, high-performance concrete, concrete with recycled aggregates, mineral coatings, cement-bounded materials in the field of drinking and waste water, protection and repair, corrosion and corrosion protection of reinforced concrete, use of computer tomography for building materimaterials, 3D cement based printing.

The Institute of Construction Material Technology is responsible for the investigations of URBCON concrete composition containing different variants of recycled aggregates. The institute is responsible for the investigations of URBCON concrete composition containing different variants of recycled aggregates. These include recycled aggregates according to standard, but also deviating from the standard specifications. In addition, URBCON recycled concrete is to be produced and tested for reusability. Also mineral by-products are to be tested.

ArcelorMittal Belgium NV

ArcelorMittal Belgium comprises of 5 different sites with 15.000 employees in total. Today, its Belgium facilities encompass Flat Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel and Distribution Solutions operations, as well as state-of-the-art research centers, in Gent and Liège. The shipments of its 5 facilities located in Gent, Genk, Geel, Liège, Châtelet and Industeel – Charleroi are in total more than 12 million tons per year.

Within URBCON ArcelorMittal Belgium will be a technological and commercial advisor and a supplier of by-products for the realisation of the pilots.

ArcelorMittal Belgium is advising URBCON in product management, technical and economic assessment, business development support. Delivering data, calculations and analysis results as a contribution to URBCON concrete LCA. Create new networks and markets for slacks as by-product, considering upcoming negative market fluctuations - Preparation of metallurgic slacks for further processing as by-product (cleaning, grinding,…) in URBCON concrete products. transport and delivery of slacks to project partners.

The URBCON project wil develop and demonstrate the equivalent performance of concrete with up to 100% by-product aggregates and eco-friendly cements. The technology will be demonstrated in real environment through three pilots, located in Rotterdam, Ghent and Westerlo. This will lead to validated urban cement, aggregate and concrete technology that is ready for scale-up. This will support enterprises acting on by-products and concrete construction.

Rotterdam pilot: slow traffic bridges

At the Steve Biko place, the City of Rotterdam together with Delft University of Technology and the University of Sheffield will lead the construction of two small bridges for slow traffic (pedestrians and bicyclists) with occasionally service vehicles and an accidental truck loading. For the construction, the URBCON project will develop two slightly different concrete mixtures recipes and ensure its manufacturability with (local) established concrete production facilities. The two bridges will be manufactured by one contractor, to be procured by the City of Rotterdam.

Ghent pilot: outside staircase

In Ghent, the URBCON pilot consists of an outside fire escape, located at the primary school "De Zonnepoort". This staircase will be build with URBCON prefab elements and is necessary to meet the fire safety regulations of the school. A school has been chosen because the use of an innovative building material in an educational environment such as in a school, is a convincing proof of belief in its reliability.

The school would prefer to build, besides the fire escape, also a new shelter for the children to play under. When this fits the budget and timing of the URBCON project, we will also perform this with URBCON technology.

Westerlo pilot: modular panels for a circular office building

The demo case in Westerlo will happen in “t Centrum”, the first circular office building in Flanders, to be built on the demonstration and exposition site of Kamp C. ‘t Centrum will not only be an office building, part of it will be a living exposition: a part of it will have open access to all, even if the office is in use. The materials and technology used, including URBCON, will be showcased to the users and the visitors. For the URBCON project this will include exhibiting the various materials used and developed, showcasing transnational variants of the URBCON technology, and as such giving a ‘stage’ for the project partners and companies involved and their transnational co-operation.

  1. There will be a cross-border demo, combining 4 inter-connectable pieces built by each university and then transported to Kamp C, as well as a technology demo stand by the partnership (universities, Resourcefull, Imertech, AMB, FDN).
  2. There will be a larger pilot in the form of modular panels made with the URBCON technology. (Kamp C, Resourcefull, FDN, Imertech, AMB, external suppliers, USFD, UGent, TUDelft, TUK).

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