Closing the Chain of Mineral Building Materials

Header image: Closing the Chain of Mineral Building Materials

One of the ambitions of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region is aimed at improving its security of supply by significantly reducing import of raw materials. Supply chains of at least 40 priority raw materials should be closed (on average 90% in 2025) and at least 20 product chains should be redesigned of which that of mineral building materials is one of the main priorities [Amsterdam Economy Board, 2015]. This project will provide an overview of mineral building materials flows and properties in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region and the potential for industrial symbiosis, a strategy addressed at making the residues of one industrial activity suitable and available for another one,  for these materials.

Background

Mineral building materials are of major importance due to their large material flows and because a major part of these materials ends up as secondary materials in constructions in or near  the living environment. The material flow of building materials in the Netherlands is estimated at 260 Mton per annum [Bijleveld et al., CE Delft, 2014] and includes the following secondary materials:

* Filler sand: 200 Mton/y
* Construction and demolition waste: 22 Mton/y
* Waste incineration bottom ash: 1.5 Mton/y
* Coal fly ash: 1.0 Mton/y
* Steel slag: 0.5 Mton/y

Improving the circularity of mineral building materials will provide important environmental and economic savings, will contribute to new and sustainable economic activity and will substantially improve the security of supply of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. In the framework of the strategies and tools for closing cycles of resources in a circular economy, a growing interest stands out towards “industrial symbiosis”. At its core, industrial symbiosis mimics biological systems in that it focuses on product and resource recycling/reuse to create closed loop systems which produce less waste and require fewer natural resources and energy to function. This approach is not only a potential factor of enhanced competitiveness for industrial activities but also a developing asset for the region, in which all resources are exploited locally and not dissipated, delegated or given away to third parties.

The industrial symbiosis strategy for sharing resources can be activated among companies present within a region and in industrial areas or industrial clusters for the transition to networks of industrial symbiosis or Circularity Centers. The implementation of industrial symbiosis principles is expected to enable far reaching benefits in terms of resource efficiency.

Approach

This project will provide an overview of mineral building materials flows and properties and the main stakeholders in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. In addition, the potential industrial symbiosis that could exist between waste producers, waste managers, construction/design professionals, as well as recycled material retailers for mineral construction materials will be assessed. The project will address both technical and non-technical (environmental, regulatory) opportunities and hurdles and mitigation strategies.

The feasibility of a Circularity Centre in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region will be assessed as a means to enhance closing of material loops and to enable industrial symbiosis. Where possible, real relationships will be fostered to develop the earliest stages of potential symbiosis in this industry.

Objectives

The objectives of this research and feasibility study are to:
* Provide an overview of mineral building materials flows and properties in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region;
* Provide an overview of main stakeholders;
* Assess both technical and non-technical (environmental, regulatory) opportunities and hurdles and mitigation strategies;
* Assess the potential for industrial symbiosis among main stakeholders for mineral building materials in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region;
* Assess the feasibility of a Circularity Centre in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.

Project duration: February 2016 – August 2016

Partners: ECN, Wageningen University

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