Technological Centre

KEOPS: new concretes aiming integral circularity in the construction sector

During the next 3 years, CETIM will collaborate with 5 companies to obtain more sustainable cements and concretes, implementing circular economy strategies within the framework of the KEOPS project.

The raw materials to obtain these advanced cements and concretes will be the construction and demolition waste themselves, as well as steel slag from electric arc furnaces.

It will be developed a blockchain application to record and secure precursors and aggregates traceability.

The project, supported by the Center for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI), brings together five business agents from the entire value chain of the construction sector: ADEC Global, Cromogenia, Cementos Cruz, Extraco and Prefhorvisa.

Construction sector accounts for 40% of the EU’s total energy consumption, 35% of its greenhouse gas emissions, a third of its water consumption and a third of the waste generated. The main material used in this sector is Portland cement, the second largest source of CO2 emissions globally, as well as a great consumer of resources. Aware of this problem and aware of the fight against climate change, the KEOPS project arises. Its main objective is to obtain new cementitious materials that totally avoid the use of Portland cement, giving rise to more sustainable cements and concretes. In addition, these concretes will be products with greater added value than conventional ones, thanks to the intrinsic properties that are expected to be achieved. The consortium will seek sustainable cementing solutions based on the use of geopolymers (alkaline cements), implementing circular economy strategies in the construction sector, through the recovery of waste with high environmental impact and high volume, mainly those of the industry of construction, Construction and Demolition Waste (CDWs), as well as those from the steel production industry.

KEOPS project: a business consortium along the entire value chain
KEOPS is formed by a consortium of 5 companies (ADEC Global, Cromogenia, Cementos Cruz, Extraco and Prefhorvisa), supported by CETIM in the research, formulation and obtaining of new geopolymeric materials, and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in the conditioning of CDWs and steel slags. This group of companies covers the entire value chain necessary for the development and optimization of integrally sustainable cementing solutions, with high added value, bringing together all the agents involved in the sector: KEOPS connects the waste manager, the first link in the chain, with the final applicators of the new products (both in mass and in prefabricated elements), also incorporating the industries producing cements and their specific additives, as intermediate links.

The project is committed to replacing Portland cement and natural aggregates with alternative materials, through the treatment and transformation of CDWs. In order to generate a product with a lower environmental impact and to value waste from the sector itself and other related ones, the project promotes the use of precursors, aggregates and cementitious bases from said waste, reintegrating them in the value chain. The use of CDWs will allow working on global routes aimed at total circularity within the construction sector. It is also expected to study new additives, designed ad-hoc, both to improve the production process and the properties of the new materials developed.

The formulated and optimized geopolymers will be evaluated through their application in real products, which currently present problems associated with the use of concrete and traditional cementitious materials. Specific formulations for shotcrete, environmental remediation, high chemical resistance, additive manufacturing and precast applications will be investigated where KEOPS target alkaline geopolymers / cements are expected to exhibit properties superior to their conventional counterparts.

CETIM Expertise
In this project, CETIM will provide technical support to the five companies that make up the consortium. During the 3-year duration of KEOPS, CETIM’s Advanced Materials Area will participate in the development of the base geopolymeric cementing material and the various geopolymer concretes, optimizing the formulations for their subsequent manufacture. It is also expected that, in collaboration with ADEC Global, a blockchain application will be developed that allows recording the traceability of precursors and aggregates, thus being able to verify their origin and the processes to which they have been subjected.

Finally, CETIM will also participate in the economic and environmental evaluation of the products and processes developed, in order to guarantee their viability from both points of view.

KEOPS seeks to promote the circular economy in the construction industry, converting the waste generated into new raw materials, used in the sector in which it was generated.