RECONMATIC will deliver 6 demonstration case studies, carried out in 5 different European countries, piloting developed technologies on real building and infrastructure projects covering different stages of the life-cycle, as well as the common practice at recycling plants. Each of these demonstrations will be assessed by a developed sustainability and circularity assessment tool to provide additional verification and proof of implementation capability in real conditions.
Czech Republic (2 Demos)
Reduction of concrete waste during the construction phase
Blockchain application supporting the reduction of construction waste generation used for concrete logistics processes
Concrete is the most utilised composite material in civil engineering, with severe environmental impacts. Currently, automation and efficient concrete logistics in terms of order placement, fresh concrete production queuing and delivery on site is limited, leading to excessive production and low-level recycling or fresh concrete dumping which also increases consumption of non-renewable resources and carbon footprint. Active tracking of information on material properties & logistics, (supply) chain, implemented via a common platform, including sensors, AI and GPS technologies holds a potential to significantly reduce such waste generation, while providing economic benefits, supporting the zero-waste strategy for construction sites. For inevitable residua, technical solutions will be installed and validated to maximize the reuse of the resources (extraction of water and mineral particles and their use in suitable concrete mixtures or products). This solution is to be demonstrated primarily on a concrete supply chain but it is also applicable to other composite materials like asphalt mixtures etc.
Digital management of materials and waste in infrastructure projects
Railway projects are dynamic endeavours involving diverse stakeholders who handle complex flows of natural and waste materials. Hence, there is a need to gather and organise data in an automated and digital form. Despite the advances in technology, managing construction materials and the waste generated is often asynchronous with the infrastructure life cycle and still handled with decentralised and obsolete approaches. The resulting loss of information thus presents challenges to the optimisation of sustainability, social acceptance and overall cost of the infrastructure. Excavated soils are the biggest source of waste in volume across the European Union which impacts the conservation of mined non-renewable natural resources as well as the CO2 emissions related to transport and disposal-related costs. Their reuse is often hindered by regulatory, organisational, logistic, economic, and material quality barriers.
The objective of this demonstrator is to assess and optimise the C&D waste reduction potential through concurrent synergies among flows of materials, data and information. The demonstration activities will aim at validating the digital information management system for C&D waste traceability and management by incorporating the data from different stakeholders involved in the design and pre-construction phases of a railway project located in Italy (designers, construction companies etc.). This has been chosen to demonstrate the applicability of the innovative solutions in infrastructure projects, considering the design and construction differences compared to buildings. Furthermore, the novel developments in material mapping and BIM methodology will be tested against the complexity of a real, full-scale railway infrastructure. This will enable the traceability of waste streams generated at the later stages of the infrastructure lifecycle to facilitate reuse, rather than recycling or landfilling. The sustainability benefits related to the railway demo case will be ultimately evaluated through the RECONMATIC guidance tool for sustainability and circularity.
Railway use case
Road use case
Automated CDW management solutions using digital twin in construction
At the moment, Europe has approx. 5.5 million km of roads and motorways with a total asset value exceeding 8 billion EUR, whereas the age and quality are very distinct and upgrading/rehabilitation actions are more critical. The amount of structural materials used during the construction process of infrastructural projects is enormous and is embedded in the entire life-cycle of these built structures till their demolition which most probably will remain more a more common scenario than deconstruction. The objective of this pilot case is to demonstrate and maximize reuse of waste from existing road structures and to implement waste management into the processes of design and completion of rehabilitation work. Some of the innovations developed in RECONMATIC will be used to demonstrate their applicability to rehabilitation of infrastructure projects. As this will be an existing road for which there are usually no digitized models, the first step will be creating a digital twin with all relevant quantitative material and waste related information. Its development and subsequent application in the rehabilitation process will demonstrate the added value of such approach, and the digital twin will then be used for the subsequent ongoing service phase of the road. The creation and use of the digital twin will demonstrate the benefits for mutual cooperation between the design-build contractor and the manager. In addition to the procedures and tools for creating a digital twin of an existing structure, selected tools and applications supporting BIM processes will be assessed as well. For the paving of the new structural layers, automated solutions for logistics and material delivery will be applied to minimize the generation of residual construction waste.
Automated CDW management solutions using digital twin for buildings
This demonstration case is targeting a similar life-cycle phase of a built structure as demonstrator #3 focusing on buildings, not infrastructure, since these two key areas of civil engineering have many specifics. The demonstrator will pilot solutions and tools dedicated to the life-cycle of selected waste material streams for 1-3 different building projects – one being in design phase, one being in construction phase, one being in service/refurbishment phase, which will be the starting object from where no digital twin exists and some of the recovered materials can be turned into new products either for the same building or for the others chosen in this demonstration case – depending on the availability of construction projects and time scheduling. In fact, it will be nearly impossible to demonstrate a more complex prototype through a single project within the project time frame. A system of steps to be taken if targeting zero or nearly zero waste shall be demonstrated. Gypsum board partitions will play an important role as one of the specific material streams since this product is used in many office buildings and it is quite common for the fit-outs to be remodeled or repurposed regularly based on tenants’ wishes. It is very difficult to landfill gypsum board and it is the worst scenario. The aim is to get recovered gypsum boards and insulation materials with high purity and to reuse the activated gypsum.
Buildings use case
Robotic fine-sorting use case
Off-site treatment of CDW and valorisation in recycled products and ECO-Aggregates
The main impact and aim of the Spanish “RECSO pilot” are to demonstrate the viability (technical and economic) of advanced robotic sorting solutions for the fine-sorting of C&D waste. This technology will act as an enabler for the commercialization of recycled products. The robot should achieve output flow with a fraction of main contaminants (glass and gypsum) <10% to match the corresponding certifications. Also, as any robotic system, it should result in higher profitability of the company, allowing to reorient workers from the sorting cabin to other more valuable tasks. It is expected to potentially reduce the use of manual labor in the sorting cabin by 40%, allowing RECSO to lower the price of its recycled material by at least 5 % and thus improve its competitive position in the market. The creation of new materials with higher purity and new commercialization streams will allow the demonstrator to increase its sales by 10%, and access new market sectors with higher quality requirements. Also, the valorisation of segregated gypsum will provide RECSO with a market for a product that up to date is dumped.
BIM tools for digitalised waste management in design and construction stage
Pre-construction material specification and design decision-making along with C&D waste management processes need to be improved so the construction industry can effectively minimise or avoid waste generation throughout the whole project lifecycle and allow waste to be generated in a way that can be captured and recycled efficiently. The market presently offers some digital solutions (e.g., Qflow identifies material stocks and waste on site in real time) but there are more challenges for designer, construction and facility management companies working with C&D waste management along different stages of the built asset lifecycle. RECONMATIC aims on creating a suite of tools that are synergistically interlinked by BIMs that will share common data which will be defined through a new data set (WASTEie). A repository for all waste and recycling data from manufacturers and their products (Materials Data Bank - MDB) will sit alongside and feed a set of Prediction Tools that consider key aspects of a project, allowing the effective prediction of waste generation, recycling/recovery and their resultant costs from project specific inputs. Closing this loop is a new Generative Design approach implementing ‘cutting edge’ tools from market-leading design application specialists to provide accelerated insights into waste optimisation during design. This holistic approach seeks to set new benchmarks in waste avoidance, reduction, recycling and reuse through a set of KPIs set out below.
To increase the quantity of waste material that can be recovered for effective recycling from demolition, remodeling and refurbishment projects, a database of manufacturer waste/recycling related data is needed. There is experience that is being put in practice currently within the EU and UK (BAMB2020, Madaster, etc.), however, a more refined and granular application must be developed to solve the industry needs. During the early stages of a project, many design decisions are locked into a project through material specification. Therefore, tools to predict the waste/recycling potential of a project would provide material specifiers and designers a further set of tools for decision-making. Currently, existing platforms allow this prediction from a limited perspective, but this varies significantly from one built asset to another depending on multiple factors. Information from BIM, together with statistical analysis about historic and current construction and infrastructure activity data from the construction company would allow predicting waste types and amounts generated more accurately and, subsequently, predict what could be recovered/recycled. Once sufficient data is known about waste generation and the various waste streams, we will be able to generate cost prediction models considering the different aspects of each construction project. This would then allow ‘what-if’ scenarios to be run testing one proposed design/material specification against another.
New data set for information management
RECONMATIC will organize several Open Day events which are planned to take place in the Czech Republic (Prague), United Kingdom (Manchester), Spain and Greece for Europe and in China, in order to engage public interest and enthusiasm for the project technologies. Local communities, students, businesses and local and national authority departments outside those involved in the project activities will be invited to participate in co-design Workshops or Hackathons aiming at further exploitation of project results. This activity will facilitate collaboration and synergies with other projects and initiatives running in the city and contribute to shaping a common vision for the future of the city and its citizens.
The events will be recorded and the material will be shared on the project’s channels and social media. If you are interested in attending one of the events, we invite you to contact us (link) and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with all our activities.