Sales of building materials from coal-fired power stations remain at a high level

General Meeting of BVK 2009, Baden-Baden/Germany (25.–26.06.2009)

The 48th General Meeting of the BVK (Bundesverband Kraft­werks­nebenprodukte – Federal German Association of ­Power Station By-Products) took place in Baden-Baden on 25.-26.06.2009. The CEO of BVK, Dr.-Ing. Heinz-Peter Backes from the Herten-based BauMineral GmbH, informed the members, who were almost all present, in his report that again they had had a successful year as regards the marketing of building materials from coal-fired power stations. Thus, about 4 ­million tons of coal fly ash could be ­delivered to the ­building ­materials market, thereof about 3 million t as certified concrete additive ­ac­-cording to DIN EN 450 (Fig. 1). The other ­products were basically also able to retain their market share: approx. 2.1 million t of FGD gypsum and spray ­absorption products, 0.4 million t of boiler sand and ­fluidized-bed ashes and about 1 million t of granular ­material from melting chambers were put on the market by members of the BVK! Matthias von der Brelje from Holcim (Deutschland) AG was again confirmed as member of the council of BFK-Marketing GmbH for a further period of three years.

There was a slight increase (plus 4  %) in the market segment of ready-mix concrete and ready-made wet mortar amounting to 2.33 million tons, while in the segment of concrete sett paving, kerbs, slabs, precast concrete stones, units and products the level of the previous year with 0.66 million tons was almost reached. There was also a slight growth (plus 4  %) as regards the use of materials for road construction, construction of ­unclassified roads, earthwork and foundation engineering amounting to 168 000 t. Compared to the previous year, there was a decrease in the use of fly ash for cement making amounting to 392 000 t (minus 8  %), in the mining/dry building materials segment amounting to 409 000 t (minus 34  %) and in the segment of masonry units/ceramic products amounting to 34 000 t (minus 30  %).

The vendors and manufacturers of building materials from coal-fired power stations, which are organized in the BVK, temporarily expect reduced amounts for the current business year 2009. This is due to a series of factors that do not allow reliable planning at present. Both the impacts of the global economic crisis and the result of carefully controlled energy saving measures have to be overcome. Furthermore, the share of coal in the German energy mix will depend on the further expansion of renewable energy sources (water, wind and sun), on the (still) planned phasing out of nuclear energy and on the import of cheap energy from abroad.

For the time being, five new coal-fired power stations are being built that will go on stream within the next three years. To what extent it will be possible to install up to 20 new coal-fired power stations will depend on the ­economic and technical feasibility of the CCS technology
(carbon capture and storage), if the CO2 emission certificates can be paid and, not least, it depends on a positive basic attitude of the population as regards coal.

With the amount of approx. 3 million tons of fly ash used in Germany as a concrete additive every year, about 2.4  million  t of rock and 1.4 million t of Portland cement are substituted. Every year, a minimum of 1.3 million t of carbon dioxide emission could be avoided alone due to the substitution of this amount of cement.

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