A company in Norfolk has received a government grant to develop a new way of recycling PFA for cement that uses less energy.
Coomtech’s pitch is that millions of tonnes of materials, in all sorts of industries, are dried inefficiently, using thermal drying technology. Its proprietary kinetic drying technology removes surface moisture by ‘shearing’ the water from particle surfaces.
Together, they have received a grant from Innovate UK, the government agency that funds research & development.
Coomtech’s kinetic driers use managed turbulent air to remove surface moisture by shearing the water from particle surfaces, keeping the air and moisture separate from the dried particles which go to storage, transport or directly into processing.
Aggregate Industries is using this technology to remove moisture from recycled PFA, as it seeks to decarbonise its processes and implement a circular economy business model.
Chris Every, chief commercial officer and a founder of Coomtech, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of Aggregate Industries in this grant project. Coomtech is especially pleased to have the business’ ongoing technical and commercial input to the project operation and analysis of performance. In addition, the opportunity to work together with a brand that is leading the way in creating new materials that will prove fundamental to the future of the construction sector and meet net zero objectives.
“The added benefit of our new drying technology is its flexibility – providing the potential to dry a wide range of materials being considered to aid the greening of the cement industry, including, limestone, ground blast furnace slag, natural pozzolans, and other crushed and milled minerals that can offer an activated character to combine in cement and concrete mixes.”
Barry Mellor, cementitious materials manager at Aggregate Industries, added: “The partnership with Coomtech allows us to move towards the sustainable targets we’ve committed to as a business. Its innovative kinetic drying technology enables us to create a new cement product using reclaimed PFA, which would otherwise sit in landfill. Traditional methods of drying PFA would use a high amount of energy, thus recycling this material, combined with a low energy drying process, results in a product which offers an overall reduction in energy, CO2 and carbon footprint.”