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MultiCON has introduced a path-breaking method to process and produce concrete by using fine and desert sand. This will solve a major problem facing the concrete sector all over the world.

Concrete is the prominent construction material in the world. Sand is the major constituent of concrete. Global sand extraction now totals more than 40 trillion tons—9 times the quantity of crude oil. Rising demand resulting from the global construction boom and declining resources are leading to increased acquisition costs. The consequences: Illegal sand extraction with serious ecological consequences.

Engineers at MultiCON have been investigating the issue over years of research with a view to developing technology fit for the future. This German company has now achieved a breakthrough: A recently patented process allows the exploitation of desert sand for the construction industry with immediate effect. Its properties and surface structure mean that this “unused gold” has lain fallow to date.

The process of production is as follows: Fine and desert sands are first ground up together. This pulverised product is then turned into firm granulate pellets using mineral binding agents. High-quality concretes are then produced with these granulates using the dual MultiCON high-speed mixing technology. These concrete types are up to 25 per cent lighter, harden more rapidly and show more than twice the strength 24 hours after pouring by comparison with standard concrete.

Apart from resource bottlenecks, the concrete sector has for years been battling with the consequences of its huge CO2 emissions. These are generated in the production of cement, a key ingredient of concrete. Another benefit from the new process lies in cutting the proportion of cement by 40 per cent. This results in a clear reduction of CO2 of up to 30 per cent. “Our aim is to optimise to the greatest degree the product concrete and to make it fit for the future with respect to conserving resources,” the technology’s developer, MultiCON’s Dr Rosenlöcher, said.

There are other benefits too. This innovative process cuts the manufacturing costs for concrete types considerably—8–15 per cent can be saved by comparison. The processing of locally available sand resources means greater economic and political independence. This could be of great interest to construction projects in the Middle East in particular.

This is a breakthrough that kills more than one problems with a single shot. First, this is an efficient method to prepare concrete. Second, it could reduce illegal sandmining across the globe and save the rivers and environment in general.