Skip to main content

2017 | Buch

Raw Materials Substitution Sustainability


Über dieses Buch

This book is the first to propose a simplified quantitative approach to evaluating raw materials’ substitution sustainability, which takes into account their embodied energy and CO2 footprint. In addition to the new quantitative model, it also presents qualitative concepts as well as a number of case studies, and includes helpful illustrations to explain the concept and approach.

Europe has launched several initiatives to promote research and innovation in raw materials and to find candidates for natural resources substitution. However, while there is a tremendous interest in raw material substitution, the lack of a simplified approach to comparing the materials’ sustainability and effective legal frameworks make final market applications extremely challenging. The market for new raw materials can only be established if industrial sectors are appropriately sensitized and stimulated.

Addressing these and other issues, the book offers a valuable resource not only for scientists, researchers, and politicians, but also for industrial and business operators looking for a way to evaluate raw materials’ substitution sustainability.


Chapter 1. Raw Materials and Sustainability Indicators
The first book chapter analyzes the raw materials consumption in Europe and introduces the parameters that characterize these materials. A model is presented to fully connect the raw materials aspects (their characteristics, their availability, and their manufacturing) and the three pillars of sustainability (economic, environmental, and social dimensions) and to show the relationships between them. The world materials production data analysis allows highlighting the problem connected to resources depletion and the need of some strategies to reduce it. For this aim, the use of different indicators other than some aggregated economy indicators, to account the raw material consumption in term of sustainability, is proposed. The use of embodied energy and carbon footprint parameters, accounting for energy and emissions involved in materials production, is envisaged. These data are presented and discussed in connection to elements natural abundance on the crust hearth and in respect to the materials world production. Evident correlations are found among the data. In particular the relationship among embodied energy and materials production can be represented by an equation very similar to demand-price curves, developed in the economy context.
Elza Bontempi
Chapter 2. Case Study of Raw Materials Substitution: Natural Fillers Substitution in Plastic Composites
In the frame of European problems of raw materials availability, this chapter describe a new technology (COSMOS) that allows to produce safe materials, starting from toxic ash waste (derived from municipal solid waste incineration). It is shown that this technology was evolved in the years to reduce its environmental costs and to use local available by-products for stabilization. The by-products and wastes that can be used in the COSMOS technology are coal fly ash, flue-gas desulfurization residues, rice husk ash, silica fume, and wood ash. The sustainability of the obtained COSMOS materials is demonstrated on the basis of their embodied energy and carbon footprint values. These parameters are reported and discussed also for several natural and engineered materials used as fillers, with great attention also to their cost. Results show that the new proposed material is comparable to calcium carbonate, in term of sustainability. A rapid analysis of the European plastic market and the results about mechanical performances of the obtained composites, highlights the possibility to reuse COSMOS filler as a substitute of calcite and talc, in polypropylene composites. Embodied energy and carbon footprint of the already available polypropylene composites and the new proposed ones are presented and discussed. In this context, Ashby plot is used to investigate possible substitution of polypropylene fillers that are unsustainable or very expensive, exploring the potential of one material to replace another. Finally, in view of its thermal properties the COSMOS filler is proposed as a substitute of antimony, one critical raw material, that urgently need alternative.
Elza Bontempi
Chapter 3. Case Study of Raw Materials Substitution: Activated Carbon Substitution for Wastewater Treatments
Activated carbon is a natural resource, which is largely employed as contaminant absorber for wastewater treatments. This onerous material has been suggested to be substituted by some by-products, with reduced impacts and costs. Despite that in literature there are several materials that have been candidate to be used instead of activated carbon, an evaluation of the sustainability of these materials is generally lacking. It was recently shown that coal fly ash (CFA) could be used as anionic surfactant adsorption in substitution of activated carbon (Zanoletti et al. 2017), with an evaluation of the resulted environmental and emission benefits. The aim of this new work is to propose and discuss the possibility to reuse porous CFA for anionic surfactant adsorption, in wastewater treatments. CFA was modified to increase its porosity, with the addition of white egg. The obtained material results very effective in Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS) adsorption and present the floating characteristic, which makes the material interesting for some wastewater treatments. The experiments made on porous CFA regeneration are also presented. The sustainability of the proposed porous material is discussed in terms of embodied energy and CO2 footprint, which account for the energies and emissions involved in the material synthesis. The use of white egg to promote the pore formation on CFA increases the embodied energy and CO2 footprint of the final obtained material, in respect to the starting CFA. However this material modification may be justified in view of the increased opportunities in material management, discussed in this chapter.
Alessandra Zanoletti, Elza Bontempi
Chapter 4. A New Approach to Evaluate the Sustainability of Raw Materials Substitution
Despite that the resource depletion problem affects the European society, insufficient measures to preserve natural resources are proposed by recent developed policies. In particular few attentions are devoted to wastes and by-products recovery strategies and incentives. More legislative efforts must be devoted to promote raw materials substitution and support industries that are working in this direction, to achieve a circular Europe. The aim of this chapter is to introduce a simplified route to quantify the environmental sustainability of raw materials substitution. A SUB-RAW index is defined, based on the use of two parameters accounting the energies and the emissions involved in the formation of a material (i.e. embodied energy and CO2 footprint). The proposed index is used in three practical examples to evaluate the possibility of some raw materials substitution. It concerns the partial substitution of Portland cement with coal fly ash (CFA), the reuse of CFA to replace activated carbon in some adsorption processes and the use of a new stabilized filler (COSMOS) instead of natural fillers in polypropylene plastic composites. The SUB-RAW index represents a simplified and valuable approach for the quantification of the sustainability of a material substitution. The simplicity of the chosen parameters makes this evaluation method very simple and low onerous; then it can be used by industries to select suitable materials for future investments in the green economy. A knowledge-based decision support system can increase the capability and flexibility in the materials selection. Additionally it is demonstrated that SUB-RAW index can be used to design new materials, based on wastes and by-products, with increased sustainability in respect to the corresponding natural resources. This can be considered an additional strategy to incentivate materials eco-design.
Elza Bontempi
Raw Materials Substitution Sustainability
verfasst von
Elza Bontempi
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN


    Die im Laufe eines Jahres in der „adhäsion“ veröffentlichten Marktübersichten helfen Anwendern verschiedenster Branchen, sich einen gezielten Überblick über Lieferantenangebote zu verschaffen.