The future at the microscope… Development of technosoils for their application to civil engineering

Research group: Ambiosol: Physical-chemical cartography of soils and landscapes, degradation and recovery of soils and waters (Department of Edaphology and Agricultural Chemistry)

Institution: USC

Principal investigator: Felipe Macías Vázquez

Project

This project aims to define and study the various applications of the so-called technosoils as an environmental solution in civil engineering.

Civil engineering produces waste can act as a base to create technosoils and these artificial soils can be used in many work applications.

Basically, the aim is to use construction waste, mixed with chemical products by maturity processes, to use them in other working areas to solve common problems. This achieves double savings economically: firstly, transferring waste to tips is a cost saved; secondly, the solutions obtained by technosoil processes are generally more economic than usual commercial processes, and are even better in some cases.

Expected / Obtained results

This project is highly novel in that it employs technosoils technology, used to date to successfully recover environmentally degraded places, in various environmental civil engineering solution types, including: treating slopes of embankments/excavations, correcting the bases and sub-bases of infrastructures with high swelling gypsum and clay content, regenerating soils in industrially polluted areas or with geological materials exposed to the elements causing environmental problems, regenerating degraded zones, environmental and landscape restoration, setting up green filters, urban developments, or recycling rail ballast, milled asphaltic agglomerate, etc.

This project will help evaluate building waste with noteworthy economic and environmental advantages as compared to current ones.

Stage of the project

The Ministry’s INNPACTO Project is in accordance with the Definite Solution received on 17/12/2012. The Project began in July 2012 and will end in December 2015.

Collaborators and project partners

The Project Coordinator is the firm COMSA SA. Its participation in the project is based on its own nature; it is a large building firm. Its main construction activity allows it to apply the result of the studies into TECHNOSOILS to works. If the project obtains more optimised solutions, COMSA will benefit, and will offer customers and society better quality technical works by avoiding extra charges.

The Project Partner is the USC: The Environmental Technology Laboratory (LTA) forms part of the University of Santiago’s Technological Research Institute. It is specialised in designing technology and procedures to improve Environmental Quality and in optimising the good use of natural resources by placing special emphasis on the recovery works of soils, waters and ecosystems degraded by innovative techniques based on applying Soil Science knowledge and on enhancing the efficacy of productive and environmental soil functions.

Collaboration in the project is controlled by a consortium signed between COMSA and the USC when the project was requested.

Internationalisation

The COMSA EMTE group is promoting its presence overseas to a great extent. Thus any measure to increase its international competitiveness is of much importance to find new forms of opening new markets and to become more consolidated in already existing ones. Undertaking this project will allow the firm to offer more competitive solutions than other firms in the sector.

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