11-09-2020 - Latest News

paperChain: Demonstrators’ success proves viability of Circular Economy

paperChain: Demonstrators’ success proves viability of Circular Economy
The Circular Economy focuses on the reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of materials and energy. This concept appears in an essential and necessary phase of saving natural resources, rising of environmental concerns and sustainability policies. Replacing the «end of life» concept of the linear economy, Circular Economy promotes the creation of new business models and the reorientation of industrial processes, through the optimization of using resources, or even by the integration of products in «end life» in growing markets, reclassifying them as by-products.

The European project H2020 paperChain «New niche markets for waste from the Pulp and Paper Industry based on the Circular Economy», emerge from the need to demonstrate the technical and environmental feasibility of using waste generated in the Pulp and Paper Industry as secondary raw-materials, competitive substitutes for primary natural resources, in the construction, mining and/or chemical sectors.

This project includes 5 large-scale demonstrators (demonstration cases): Construction in Portugal (prefabricated concrete structures and bituminous mixtures for road paving), soil stabilization layers on roads (Spain), as composite material for slope stabilization (Slovenia), as sealing layers for landfills in the minning sector (Sweden) and as a bioethanol production source for secondary chemicals production in the chemical industry (Sweden).

In March 2020, the construction of the 2 pilots foreseen for the Portuguese circular case was completed, within the projects scope, focusing on the feasibility and circularity of the use of waste generated at Navigator Pulp Aveiro (lime ash, Dregs and Grits) in the construction sector. These wastes, currently worthless, were studied and prepared to replace fillers and fine aggregates in structural elements in prefabricated concrete and bituminous mixtures for the application of asphalt, with the support of a team from the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Aveiro. The companies SPRAL and Megavia, also members of the Portuguese consortium, were responsible for the construction/application of the demonstrators.

The project received the green light from the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) to proceed with the 2 demonstration pilots in July 2019, after defining the technical details in a joint work between the companies NVG, SPRAL and Megavia with the University of Aveiro.

The first circular case comprises an industrial pavilion built with precast concrete columns and beams using lime ash as filler. The construction took place in Ílhavo, at SPRAL facilities, integrating 4 porticos with 10 m high columns and 20 m long beams, already equipped with sensors for long-term monitoring.

Pavilion constructed with integration of lime ash in the final formulation of precast concrete; Location: SPRAL – Sociedade de pré-esforçados de Aveiro (ílhavo - Aveiro).
The second circular case used Dregs and Grits as fine aggregates and bituminous fillers for the road superficial layer, being implemented at Navigator Tissue Aveiro mill. This pilot included the construction, by the company Megavia, of a 250 m road section with different bituminous mixtures in an area of 2,800 m2, involving, in addition to the reference bituminous mixture (standard), mixtures containing Dregs and Grits. Before application in the final mixture, the waste was subjected to a pre-treatment by a waste management company (DILUMEX). This section of the road will be monitored until February 2021.

Asphaltic pavement with dregs and grits; Location: Navigator Tissue Aveiro (Cacia - Aveiro).
Through technical and environmental monitoring, the aim is to obtain validation of the durability of these new circular solutions. The tests are being carried out by the University of Aveiro and by the Forest and Paper Research Institute, RAIZ.

The general objective of paperChain is to contribute to the goal of Zero Waste and to demonstrate the concept of Circular Economy. The use of these specific wastes will also contribute to reducing their current deposition in landfills, together with the future replacement of natural raw materials, such as fillers and fine aggregates, with other associated benefits such as the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The paperChain, as a Project financed by the European Commission (H2020 Research and Innovation program), is coordinated by the company ACCIONA Construction (Spain) and includes a total of 20 partners from 5 EU countries. This H2020 project is a demonstrator of Circular Economy, enclosing a network of stakeholders and consortium partners that, in Portugal, involve THE NAVIGATOR COMPANY, SPRAL, MEGAVIA, AVEIRO UNIVERSITY, INSTITUTO RAIZ and the SUSTAINABLE HABITAT CLUSTER.

For more information, visit: (https://paperchain.eu)

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