The ceramic industry is important for the European economy (€28 bn production value; 200,000 direct jobs; €4.6 bn positive trade balance; 80% SMEs) and a leading technological sector. Technological innovation in the ceramic industry has been deeply changing the manufacturing cycle and the requirements for raw materials. Classic categories are practically useless to estimate the effective potential of industrial minerals for ceramics and to reveal possible criticalities. Besides the growing concern on waste recycling, a recognized approach to assess the actual potential of residues as ceramic raw materials is still lacking.
CRAM wants to gather information, specific for the ceramic sector, and to elaborate tools that could help drawing a strategy for raw materials in the European ceramic industry. The main CRAM actions will cover:
1) identification of critical situations in raw materials supply in order to create a CRMs list from the ceramic industry viewpoint;
2) study of the ceramic raw materials flow in Europe with case studies on key production countries (Spain, Italy and Turkey);
3) technological classification of ceramic raw materials to support geological mapping and exploration;
4) industry-oriented definition of feasible alternatives (primary and secondary raw materials) to current key resources trying to apply the circular economy concepts to the ceramic sector (technological and environmental feasibility, LCA, design of recycling solutions for distinct wastes; definition of added-value waste-based products);
5) roadmap to new ceramic products and processes in function of the medium- to long-term availability of raw materials.
Activities on DATA INPUT will cover the organization of databases incorporating data and information of primary and secondary ceramic raw materials; maps and evaluation of European stocks (primary mineral deposits, waste facilities, and their state). For secondary raw materials, the urban mine inventory will include also materials flows of end-of-life products throughout the recycling chain. Information on existing techniques/technologies and business models that support circular economy will be considered with emphasis on design trends, new products, material use, and treatment technologies which impact how materials are collected and treated.
Activities on RAW MATERIALS INTELLIGENCE will cover methods and tools, in particular: ceramic raw materials statistics (including waste statistics), LCA on case-studies, forecasting global supply/demand by the European ceramic industry (based on benchmarking available information), prediction scenarios drew on global primary, recycling and substitution basis. Analysis on policy, regulations, and trade issues could be included.
Activities on END-OF-LIFE PRODUCTS RECYCLING will cover the review of innovative technological solutions for recovery of useful materials from complex end-of-life products that could be exploited as ceramic raw materials, so contributing to improve the economic sustainability of recovery operations.
Activities on RECYCLING OF CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION WASTE (CDW) will cover the review of technological solutions for the valorization of CDW as ceramic raw materials, by assessing the technological, technical, environmental and economic feasibility. The existence of possible hindrances and bottlenecks to the CDW recycling in the ceramic production will be addressed.
CRAM is aimed at providing data and information toward an industrial strategy for ceramic raw materials in Europe. A dual approach, by fostering an interplay between the knowledge on mineral/waste potential and that on ceramic technology, is needed to go beyond running EU projects in this field. It can help drawing some of the innovation paths in the next decade. Expected results: 1) identification of critical situations in raw materials supply (CRMs list from the ceramic industry viewpoint); 2) study of the ceramic raw materials flow in Europe; 3) technological classification of ceramic raw materials to support geological mapping and exploration; 4) industry-oriented definition of feasible alternatives (primary and secondary raw materials) to current key resources; 5) roadmap to new ceramic products and processes in function of the medium- to long-term availability of raw materials.
1) Identification of critical situations in raw materials supply in order to create a Critical Raw Materials list from the ceramic industry viewpoint. Use of the USA and EU models of criticality. Extending the evaluation beyond the CRMs concepts to entail: technological value, medium- to long-term availability, logistics stress test.
2) Study of the ceramic raw materials flow in Europe by covering supply to wall and floor tiles, tableware and sanitaryware, bricks and roof tiles, glazes and pigments, refractories and insulators, lightweight aggregates, ceramic pipes. Case studies on key production countries (Spain, Italy and Turkey).
3) Technological classification of ceramic raw materials to support geological mapping and exploration; many raw materials widely used in ceramic production are not considered by official statistics or are gathered under broad categories, often in a different way in different countries; lack of technological value in the assessment of output and reserves. Proposal of this new classification to be used in Eurostat for a comprehensive understanding of the real material flows in Europe of this raw materials.
4) Industry-oriented definition of feasible alternatives (primary and secondary raw materials) to current key resources. Application of the circular economy to the ceramic industry with a specific approach to recycling of urban and industrial wastes as raw materials by reviewing: technological and environmental feasibility for recycling; design of recycling solutions for distinct wastes; definition of added-value waste-based products; Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for waste-bearing materials. The ceramic production requires intensive energy consumption, which accounts for up to 30% of the total cost. In turn, the minerals used in the manufacture of ceramics represent about one fifth of the total manufacturing cost of many ceramic elements. Operating at high temperature,
the furnace not only consumes energy but also releases greenhouse gases. Therefore, the environmental impact of the manufacture of building materials can be reduced by using wastes in their formulation and/or biomass as fuel for heat generation. Therefore, significant technological advances must entail a deeper analysis of the behavior of these materials from an environmental point of view, in order to determine the degree of stabilization or reaction residues within the matrix of material.
5) Roadmap to new ceramic products and processes in function of the medium- to long-term availability of raw materials. Contributions from existing industrial roadmaps (e.g., Ceram-Unie ‘Paving the Way to 2050’) and activities 1-4 will be convolved to propose a path for future activities on both industry and academia sides.
Improving the knowledge on ceramic raw materials: addressing technological issues in the search for new sources and including opportunities from secondary raw materials. Linking legal definitions and commercial classifications to actual market and technological processes.
Promoting a more efficient exploitation of known deposits: application of the “full-exploitation” concept to ceramic raw materials; drawing technological side-effects and possible hindrances in the ceramic production.
Strengthening the value chain: mining > processing > ceramic manufacturing > recycling > public sectors > civil society, by fostering an interplay between the mining and ceramic sectors.
Shedding light on the environmental and societal benefits from efficient exploitation and urban mining to supply economy (industrial production based in the EU and relative trades).
Detailed knowledge of the raw materials flow in the ceramic sector. Mid-term and long-term scenarios for ceramic raw materials availability and demand with establishment of possible supply gaps. Application of the circular economy model to the ceramic industry.
Being focused on the EU ceramic sector, the present commitment is expected to provide outcomes on both the Knowledge Based and the Technology pillars. All the activities are industry-oriented: results will be conveyed to companies in the mining and ceramic production; a proper involvement of the manufacturers’ associations will be pursued at both the national and EU levels. Expected outcomes will be useful to:
- improve the knowledge on ceramic raw materials (primary and secondary sources) for practical effects on definition of the mineral potential in the EU;
- draw mid- to long-term scenarios for raw materials supply, involving circular economy concepts with effects on innovation paths in ceramic products and processes;
- envisage new ideas for a more efficient use of resources: technological obstacles and possible shortcuts to get a full exploitation of deposits and wastes.
Coordination of the Commitment. Participation in the activities: 1) Identification of critical situations in raw materials supply. 2) Study of the ceramic raw materials flow in Europe. 3) Technological classification of ceramic raw materials. 4) Industry-oriented definition of feasible alternatives. 5) Roadmap to new ceramic products and processes.