University of Trier, Department of Geology

Research and teaching at the University of Trier is organised in six faculties: Humanities, Social Sciences, Economics, Law, Spatial and Environmental Sciences and Computer Sciences.

Within the Faculty of Spatial and Environmental Sciences the departments of Geology, Physical Geography, Remote Sensing and Soil Science provide a strong scientific and interdisciplinary expertise with respect to geological mapping as well as geophysical investigation of the composition and structures of upper crustal rocks and soils as well as remote sensing analyses of the Earth`s surface.

The main research domains of the Department of Geology include:

  • Environmental & climate reconstruction in the southernmost Andes
  • Investigation of hillslope hydrogeology and stability
  • Transport and fixation of pollutants in soils and rocks
  • Remediation of landfills and polluted sites
  • Optimisation sealing systems for landfill liners and cut-off walls
  • Mechanical behaviour and hydrological properties of domestic landfill bodies
  • Identification of clay minerals
  • Development of eco-cements

Quaternary geology and especially paleoclimate/paleoenvironmenal reconstruction form an important research and teaching topic at the department of Geology. Interactions between climate, basement rocks and soil cover, associated element mobility as well as paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic conditions are focused.

Applied research focusing engineering geology is carried out for attainment of a better understanding of the processes close to the Earth’s surface and their recent dynamics. This includes the investigation of mass movement processes (mainly landslides) representing a threat to e.g., infrastructure and buildings.

The detailed characterisation of the specific properties of anthropogenic deposits in landfills and contaminated sites is of particular importance in the context of sustainable growth and environmental protection. Here, the application of industrial waste products for the development of eco-cements is an important research topic. Production processes of several regional industrial partners imply high amounts of waste products such as gravel wash mud, sewage sludge ash or dusts from dolomite and quartzite mining processes. Laboratories of the department have a sufficient infrastructure for the identification of potential materials for eco-cements from these waste products. These eco-cements from local industrial waste materials produce low CO2 emissions and may therefore provide an environmental friendly alternative to conventionally used Portland-cement in the future.

University of Luxembourg

The University of Luxembourg is the Leading Partner and takes care of all the project management part.

The University of Luxembourg, and in specific the department of engineering has demonstrated experience in evaluation and treatment of construction waste and industrial by-products such as gravel washed mud and clays to use as supplementary cementitious materials. The research focuses on optimization of activation techniques such as chemical and thermal activation. The activation conditions such as the temperature and time of calcination, the fineness and surface area, and the mechanical grinding of the materials studied are some of the parameters researched besides the usual structural behavior normally characterized by compressive resistance. Moreover, in previous research the possibility of thermal and chemical activation of such materials was evaluated as well as the optimal mixing procedure and the percentage of cement replacement. As a result of these experiments, a new binder concept meeting European standards was obtained. Not only this previous experience will allow to develop new compositions and concepts on binders and mortars for this project, but also ensure that the knowledge created is not lost and that efforts into finding new ways of valorizing the construction industry’s waste are continued to achieve the much-needed convergence towards a circular economy in the industry in the Greater Region.

University of Lorraine

The University of Lorraine and more precisely the materials team for the civil engineering of the Jean Lamour Institute has a long experience in the evaluation and development of new cement compositions and new concrete formulations.

In the CO2REDRES project, the University of Lorraine brings in particular its expertise to evaluate and characterize the properties of various cementitious additions such as calcined clays (metakaolins) resulting in particular from gravel wash mud and limestone fillers.

One aspect of the research carried out at the University of Lorraine concerns the optimization of formulations on paste and mortar. More specifically, it involves measuring the impact of cementitious additions on the rheological properties in the fresh state and the mechanical properties in the hardened state of the various mixtures. Particular attention is paid to the fineness of each component, to the reactivity of the cements as well as to that of the calcined clays, which depends in particular on their purity and their mode of production. The ultimate objective is to find the right combination in order to obtain a similar workability to that of a paste, mortar or cement-based concrete without addition while retaining good mechanical properties.

This research is used by the other partners in the project for the selection of raw materials (composition) and the choice of activation mode (dosage and fineness of additions). The optimization of binders in the framework of this cross-border collaboration will allow the development in the Greater Region of compound cements with reduced environmental impact.

University of Liège

The Building Materials Laboratory (LMC) of Liege University is active in the analysis of mechanical and physico-chemical phenomena influencing the properties of construction materials.

The GeMMe – Building Materials team is developing the experimental side of its research within the Construction Materials Laboratory. The GeMMe division includes the following 3 research teams:

  • Minerals Engineering and Recycling
  • Building Materials
  • MiCa (Geological and Mineral Georesources Imaging)

The main types of materials processed are:

  • Mortars and concrete
  • Repair products
  • Cements and hydraulic binders other than cement (lime, plaster, etc.)
  • Road markings (paints, hot plasters and cold plasters)

The role of the laboratory is to provide its customers with information on the quality of products, at three different levels: (i) control of properties, (ii) determination of characteristics and (iii) development of the product in depending on the properties to be achieved.

The laboratory also develops internationally renowned activities in the field of the use of additives and their impact on the hydration process as well as on the mechanical performance of mortars. The LMC is developing new procedures for design, testing and control materials, under the auspices of the American Concrete Institute and the International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Building Materials, Systems and Structures (RILEM). Since 2009, the Construction Materials Laboratory has been accredited according to the ISO 17025 standard (BELAC 380-TEST certificate).

The University of Liege has a long experience in establishing life-cycle assessments (LCA). In this project, the University of Liege will be particularly interested in the environmental assessment of the various mineral additions developed within the framework of the project, in particular in terms of the quantities of CO2 released at the final stage of their production. A “cradle to gate” type evaluation will be carried out in order to compare the production processes of the products produced (partial life cycle analysis) with respect to traditional products (clinker and slag cement), taking into account the extraction energies, of transformation and production (embodied energy) mobilized. The overall impact of product development on the environment (resource depletion, global warming, eutrophication, etc.) will be quantified according to the methodology of life cycle analysis (LCA).

In the present case, the LCA will mainly focus on the environmental impacts linked to the production of the new additions. LCA associated with this project could also be used, for example, by “decision-makers” in the Greater Region, when they will have to choose new strategies or support new technologies or new products, to set a regional waste management policy, etc. Methodological operators and companies will also be able to use the results of LCA to optimize their current processes and use leading indicators as arguments for transitioning to new technologies.