This unique project is funded under the ENTRUST Landfill Tax Credit Scheme with a £400,000 grant from the RMC Environment Fund. It provides a national facility available to all those intending to manufacture aggregates. The project is managed by Nustone Limited, an Environmental Body. The Pilot Plant is situated at the Manufactured Aggregate Research Centre (MARC), University of East London (managed by Darryl Newport). The pilot plant is an upgrade of an installation previously operated at Tilbury by RTAL Limited and has been designed using state-of-the-art technology.
Manufactured aggregates have been produced for more than 70 years from such materials as clay, shale, slate and slag and, more recently from pulverised-fuel ash (PFA). This facility enables large-scale feasibility testing to be carried out on aggregates designed and manufactured using a wide variety of waste materials. Current developments in the science and technology of thermal processing now enable aggregates to be designed and manufactured from various combinations of resource materials, such as:
The process allows waste materials to be used in the manufacture of commercially viable aggregates. Many waste materials contain combustible components, which provide some of the energy required for kilning, and reduce the density of the finished product, so improving the overall efficiency of the process. Other wastes contain materials that can be expanded by heat (bloating) to reduce density. This process can transform wastes, which are difficult or extremely costly to manage, into useful, safe and valuable aggregates.
In order to satisfy European construction product specifications, this facility has been designed to manufacture aggregates for high-performance applications especially to satisfy legislation for ecotoxicity. The processing technology enables aggregate to be designed and produced to meet specific market applications thus allowing natural aggregates to be substituted by manufactured aggregates of superior technical performance at a competitive cost. This project aims to significantly reduce the disposal of both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes to landfill. By using materials perceived as wastes as resources for aggregate manufacture, this project will demonstrate a sustainable waste management policy in support of Waste Strategy 2000 by:
The incorporation of laboratory scale equipment and the replication of a full-scale production plant will enable research and development to be undertaken from initial research to pilot scale production prior to commercial development. The facility will produce aggregates within defined requirements in sufficient quantities for representative testing.
The Manufactured Aggregate Research Centre is also developing research around food based bio ash from biomass boiler systems; the aim is to develop lightweight construction materials using a combination of waste streams. In addition, we are investigating the use of various waste cooking oils as binders for the construction industry. We are investigating and evaluating thermal efficiencies of existing processes, durability and compressive strength of a series of waste based blends. Currently, the research is assessing the market opportunity for oil based masonry products; this is being developed in collaboration with a major block manufacturer.
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