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Objective of the project

The main objective of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of replacing Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and OPC based concrete (products) with new products based on the innovative Belite-Ye’elimite-Ferrite (BYF) class of low-CO2 binders. ECO-Binder aims to address the vast market for envelope retrofitting and new construction with a new generation of prefabricated building envelope components with

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cost reduced
relative to current solutions
based on Portland cement.


Concrete is the most widely used man-made material on Earth, with an annual consumption of around 10 billion m³. Traditional Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) provides the concrete with the desired levels of strength and durability. However, its production is associated with high CO2 release (~0.9t CO2/t of Ordinary Portland clinker). The CO2 emissions related to the fabrication of currently around 3.5 billion tons p.a. are amounting to approximately 5% of the worldwide anthropogenic GHG emissions. Cement is used to produce cost-effective precast components and systems for building envelope retrofitting and new built. Prefabrication and precasting are indeed key to address the challenge of retrofitting the 210 million existing buildings in Europe. Reducing the embodied energy of the construction materials employed and the energy demand during the usage phase through applying better performing insulation materials and lightweight systems are important issues to be considered.

In order to be cost-effective and sustainable in a highly-competitive market, the new building envelope solutions will integrate even more functions in a single product package.

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Prefabricated concrete systems of different complexity (from ordinary blocks to sophisticated insulated wall panels) and end-use will be installed in different climatic conditions for demonstration purposes. Their environmental performance will be validated through dedicated LCAs. Pre-cast products developed in this project are intended for new construction as well as for deep retrofitting, as for example the renovation of commercial buildings or social housing construction.

The approach taken within the ECO-Binder project will lead to the development of a novel family of cement binders. This will enable the construction materials sector to progress towards commercializing eco-sustainable products with comparable performance to traditional products.

The overall concept of the project builds on previous work by HeidelbergCement, Lafarge and Vicat to develop a novel family of low CO2 binders based on Belite, Ye’elimite and Ferrite phases (BYF cements). In BYF technology, the superior early age strength contribution of calcium-sulfo-aluminates (CSA) is combined with durability provided by belite. The raw materials and the production process for BYF cements, are similar to those of Portland cement (OPC), but the CO2 emissions are about 30% lower as shown in preliminary LCA calculations. This is due to the lower calcium content of the raw materials (less limestone usage) the lower clinker burning temperature of around 1250-1300°C and the lower grinding energy demand. These same factors also results in a significantly lower embodied energy than OPC.


BYF scenario

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Combining these novel binders with insulating materials and advanced functional finishing methods will permit the development of novel concrete systems with low CO2 and low embodied energy suited for a wide range of envelope components, without compromising technical, health and environmental standards. The new systems will result in an improved construction process with reduced time and costs.

The ECO-Binder project follows a holisitc approach: Material science research on BYF cement and concrete and on advanced finishing materials like mortars, plasters, paints or coatings, will lead to the development of concrete elements with reduced embodied energy, improved insulation properties and providing multifunctional surface properties like thermal reflection, antibacterial, anti-stain, self-cleaning.

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Fully optimized sustainable envelopes will show at least 20% better insulating performance than currently available solutions, and ensure durability and the necessary mutual compatibility the different components. Improved acoustic performance, as well better health and safety will be also provided at sustainable installation costs. Given the expected life span of fifty or more years, it is important not only that the new envelope systems be energy efficient and eco-friendly, but that they also behave similarly to traditional solutions. This means that concrete based on the new low-CO2 BYF cements needs to be durable and be capable of being placed or cast easily.

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ECO Binder redesign webu DEMO v01 4

The concretes have been mixed on an industrial scale mixing plant (250 litres) and specimens have been produced for testing of mechanical and physical properties:

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LOGO CE Vertical EN quadri LR Copyright © 2015 - 2019
All Right Reserved.
This project is supported by the European Commission
under the Energy Theme of the Horizon 2020
for research

and Technological development.
Grant Agreement number 637138
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