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3C Cluster Developing Ideas for Circular Economy in Construction

Tiina Roine (info a nordkalk.com), 6 May 2021

3C Cluster, short for Circular Materials and Solutions for Construction, has been operating in the Turku region since May 2020. The first year has been spent on developing ideas and networking.

The activities of the 3C Cluster are coordinated by Turku Science Park. The cluster brings together companies, universities and educational institutions, as well as public and municipal actors from Turku area. Last spring, when the cluster was founded, Nordkalk assumed responsibility for leading the companies’ cooperation together with Turku Science Park.  The 3C Cluster aims to find business models and operating methods that can accelerate the transition of the construction industry towards a circular economy.

“The collaboration has started well, although it’s a bit challenging, as networking takes place on the net. Joint business projects require an open mind and trust, which takes time to build. This project will continue for at least three years, maybe even for six”, says Mathias Snåre, R&D Director at Nordkalk, the front-runner company for the business co-operation of 3C.

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Mathias Snåre, R&D Director at Nordkalk, encourages companies to co-operate when it comes to circular economy in construction.

Since the first meeting in May, the 3C Cluster has gathered three times, with more than 60 participants. Two project applications have been submitted by the universities and Turku Science Park in early 2021. One of the projects relates to the carbon footprint calculation of recycled materials and the other to recycling ceramic demolition waste.

Mathias is hoping for tangible company-driven project plans, which haven’t materialised yet. However, when professionals from various fields get together, plenty of interesting ideas emerge. One such idea is the co-operation of the major players in the construction industry in Pargas, where Finnsementti, Paroc, Saint-Gobain Weber and Nordkalk will jointly solve challenges of the circular economy.

“Pargas has a strong construction industry concentration, and the heart of it is the limestone quarry that produces raw material for construction. That is one of the reasons why Nordkalk took the role of the front-runner company in the 3C Cluster. All four companies share the goal of advancing circular economy solutions. We are now considering together how to increase the use of the mine's wallrock. Other common topics are, e.g., utilisation of residual heat and carbon capture, which is a particularly interesting issue for Finnsementti and Nordkalk,” says Mathias.

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Pargas has a strong construction industry concentration, and the heart of it is the limestone quarry that produces raw material for construction.

Nordkalk has been working on circular economy solutions for a long time, and in the latest strategy update circular economy was lifted up as one of the priorities. In addition to maximising the utilisation of own side streams, Nordkalk is looking for solutions to utilise lime-based side streams from its customers' processes. The R&D work focuses on circular solutions.

Mathias mentions that recycling of concrete, for example, is an important area to develop in order to achieve a more sustainable construction segment. Concrete is the most used building material, and its recycling must be significantly increased: “It is challenging because concrete develops according to humidity and temperature, for example. In order to be able to use crushed concrete correctly, standardisation throughout the life cycle of the material is needed. It is a good example of a task that requires co-operation of many parties."

Text: Anne Foley
Photo: Tatu Lertola

Leader in Northern Europe

Nordkalk is the leading limestone company in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.