Visit of Circulus project partner Nordland Betongelement
The hollow core slab producer Nordland Betongelement is one of the industrial partners in the Circulus project and actively implements processes that lead towards waste reduction.
Iveta Novakova, researcher and WP4 leader in the project, visited the factory and discussed the activities of Nordland Betongelement with Svein Helge Nøstdal, CEO.
Svein Helge showed me the factory, and we spoke about improved processes such as a marker machine and cutting saw with a sludge collection/sucking device. The sludge is discharged in a drainage that is cleaned about 3 to 4 times a year. This sludge has the potential to be further utilised as a supplementary cementitious material (SCM) or secondary raw material for cement production. PhD student Ashfaque Ahmed Jhatial, from UiT, is looking into the problems around sludge and recycled fines, which is an issue for the whole precast and ready-mix concrete industry worldwide. Nordland Betongelement reuses its wastewater and thanks to that prevents its disposal in Tysfjorden fjord. Wastewater and sludge are unavoidable waste streams, but reducing hollow core slab cut-offs is possible and has already been successfully implemented. Nordland Betongelement developed an internal norm for cutting optimisation that distributes requested elements in such a manner that it uses the full length of a hollow core slab. Internal norm was implemented at production about 2 years ago and proved its potential. Presently, other productions in Norway are looking into its implementation in their productions and reduction of cut-offs, which are the most significant volume of the waste stream from hollow core productions. Nordland Betongelement is planning a follow-up project where the cutting optimisation can be connected to BIM modelling. This can reduce the volume of cut-offs even further and improve the carbon footprint of the entire production. To conclude, Nordland Betongelement successfully works towards waste stream reduction and production optimisation. Implementing new processes and technologies leads to waste-free and carbon-neutral hollow core slab production.