MUL conjures raw materials for industry from tunnel excavation 

The DRAGON project – Development of Resource-efficient and Advanced underground technologies is a research project funded by the European Commission, under the 7th Framework Program, and aims at improving resource efficiency in the construction of tunnels and other underground construction processes by using the excavated material as raw material for other industrial sectors and the minerals industry. The ambitious goal is to completely manage the entire process chain from the characterisation of the excavated material and its classification to complete treatment underground. Ultimately, the stated output goal of a resource-saving process, for any work in the earth´s crust, must not be landfill but rather the application as a construction material or industrial mineral!

It should be noted that in addition to environmental concerns, technical and economic aspects, statutory requirements also significantly affect the handling of tunnel excavation material. The project client as well as the construction industry must deal with all these challenges, in order to achieve a maximum utilisation level of tunnel excavation material in the future. A not insignificant portion of the annual demand for raw materials in Austria can already be met by the use of tunnel excavation.

The main developments in the EU DRAGON research project relate to the online analysis of physical and chemical parameters, developments in the areas of materials management and processing as well as the development of a tunnel excavation material database.

The DRAGON project is coordinated by the Mining University of Leoben; Industry partners are B+G AG – Betontechnologie und Materialbewirtschaftung, Herrenknecht AG, Indutech Instruments GmbH, Jacques Burdin Ingenieur Conseil, PE Northwest Europe Limited and PORR Bau GmbH, which should ensure a practical implementation.

Source: Montan Universität