Media releases & Case studies

Case study: Re-using green energy by-products for improved sustainability

Composite fillers with biomass ash

At Sibelco we are constantly refining our search for innovative solutions, both to improve the performance of our materials and to provide solutions that fit the demands of a circular economy.

One specific focus is the by-products from biomass energy generation. These by-products are often not fully recyclable. As a provider of material solutions, we can challenge green energy producers to improve their incineration efficiency and work with them to close the loop for their by-products.

A practical example of our innovation in this area is the treatment of fly ash. Fly ash is what remains when biomass has been incinerated to create green energy. Sibelco has been seeking a recycling option for biomass ash, and has now found the answer…in asphalt production.

Asphalt is a mix of bitumen and coarse and fine aggregates. Limestone is added as a filler to the asphalt to strengthen roads and make them more durable. Now we can replace limestone with selected fly ash combined with primary minerals, without any loss in performance. This reduces reliance on primary limestone stocks and provides a high quality sustainable application for the ash. A true win-win solution.

The fillers are milled and mixed at our plants in Winterswijk and Maastricht, with intensive quality control of the materials used in the end product. This ensures they meet required technical and environmental specifications and comply with the European standards for aggregates.

The volume of global construction is predicted to grow by 85% by 2030 and the need for new and improved road infrastructure will drive higher demand for asphalt. For this infrastructure to be more sustainable requires innovative approaches to materials and recycling.

The development of biomass fly ash is an example of Sibelco’s commitment to meeting our customers’ needs. Working closely with asphalt producers and regulators, it’s another step in Sibelco’s approach of delivering materials solutions for a more sustainable world.

Key facts:

  • Biomass fly ash can replace up to 40% of limestone as a filler material in asphalt
  • The use of fly ash saves 4-6 kg CO2 equivalent per ton of filler
  • Asphalt is 100% recyclable, including the filler
  • Composite filler can make asphalt more sustainable

Case study PDF

Case study: Re-using green energy by-products for improved sustainability (pdf 345KB)

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