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Identifying hotspots of environmental impact in the development of novel inorganic polymer paving blocks from bauxite residue
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9560-3132
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5535-6368
(English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

High bauxite residue content inorganic polymer paving blocks have the potential not only to provide a solution to the ongoing waste management issues faced by the alumina sector, but to simultaneously provide low environmental impact building materials to the construction sector. In order to realise the potential of this emerging technology, it is important to understand where the hotspots of environmental impact are likely to occur, and identify routes to reduce this impact, at an early stage of development. In this study we use anticipatory Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to identify hotspots of environmental impact in the production of paving blocks made from inorganic polymers derived from bauxite residue. This technology has only been demonstrated at laboratory scale; however, production was modelled at industrial scale. The bauxite residue is fired in a rotary kiln in the presence of a carbon and silica source, in order to create a reactive precursor. When mixed with an alkali the precursor forms a solid block. Our results identify the firing process as the major hotspot of environmental impact, primarily due to the combustion of fossil fuels in the rotary kiln. Steps to reduce the impact of the firing step or to reduce the amount of fired precursor used in the final paving block are suggested as routes for future impact reduction. Optimisation of the environmental aspects of these building materials at an early stage in their development could lead to a promising future for high-volume bauxite residue valorisation at low environmental cost.

National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-232074OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-232074DiVA, id: diva2:1232124
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 636876
Note

QC 20180717

Available from: 2018-07-10 Created: 2018-07-10 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

The full text will be freely available from 2020-07-10 15:01
Available from 2020-07-10 15:01

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Joyce, Peter JamesBjörklund, Anna

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