Ecological questions on the agenda

At the invitation of the Chinese Gypsum Association, a delegation of the Bundesverband der Gipsindustrie e.V. (Association of the German Gypsum Industry) visited China on 13.01.2014. The main intentions of the German association’s committee and executive board in making this visit were to exchange information and to explore the possibilities for cooperation with Chinese partners on certain topics of importance for the gypsum industry.
Currently, Germany is the most important construction market in Europe. At the same time, the Peoples’ Republic of China is now the world’s largest producer of plasterboard and places specific demands on the products and their application. On this basis, the foundation was laid for networking at the association level, in order to become familiar with the status quo of the other side and to recognize global trends in gypsum application at an early stage.
In addition to technological and economic questions regarding the fields of application and the standardization of gypsum products, the discussions also focussed on aspects such as energy conservation in the industry and the sustainable use of resources. In both China and Germany, FGD gypsum – i.e. gypsum from flue gas desulphurisation of coal-fired power plants – today represents an important raw material basis. Chemically speaking, FGD gypsum is identical with natural gypsum, so its use protects natural gypsum deposits. Uniform quality standards for FGD gypsum could in future simplify trade in the material between Europe and China.
Prior to the visit, the Chinese association had already signalized its interest in technically produced gypsums, and had also gathered information regarding the successful efforts of the German gypsum industry to optimize the energy efficiency and reduce the energy demand of the production process. Moreover, the German delegation presented its recycling concept for plasterboards, which enables new gypsum products to be manufactured from waste wallboard or plasterboard in the sense of a “circular economy”.
Holger Ortleb, Managing Director of the Bundesverband der Gipsindustrie, summed up his impressions of the visit by saying: “At the moment, industrial contacts with China are changing in character. The agenda agreed for this visit by the two associations shows that in addition to questions of technological exchange and trade, both sides can increasingly cooperate on ecological matters.” For 2014, it is planned that the Chinese association will make a return visit to Berlin.


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