Cemex Ventures is investing in US-based Arqlite SPC, a start-up that produces light recycled aggregates from plastic waste.
According to a report this week on the International Cement Review website, the product benefits from a low CO2 footprint and a greater durability for drainage, precast and lightweight concrete systems for non-structural use.
Arqlite SPC began its research and development process in Argentina in 2016. It has developed an innovative technology that allows most of the plastic waste to be recycled instead of disposal at a landfill or polluting the environment.
The light aggregates it produces represent a significant advance in sustainable construction, multiplying thermal and acoustic insulation by ten times compared to mineral aggregates and offering better construction quality and higher energy conservation.
The aggregate is three times lighter than stone, making it excellent for low-CO2 concrete that is also intended to reduce required structural supports and to significantly lower transportation costs.
The low thermal conductivity of plastic reduces its reaction to extreme temperature variations and, therefore, the possibility of fracturing or altering the concrete mix.
Arqlite SPC installs version 2.0 of its technology in its new factory in Santa Ana, California, based on developments in Argentina.
This new production plant has equipment from different European countries, which, added to the technology designed locally by the company, will reach a capacity of 18,000tpa.
Its location is strategic for Cemex since it is within the radius of several of its concrete and aggregate operations in the California area.
Also, Arqlite already has agreements to recycle plastics from large generators throughout the Los Angeles region and works with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to continue innovating in the construction industry.
According to Cristina Aparicio, head of Cemex Ventures investment in Arqlite: “Plastic waste processing is a global problem with no large-scale solution so far.
“We believe that, due to the large volume of material used by the construction industry, we can recycle much of this plastic waste, making us a solution to this problem, while generating construction materials with better functionality and lower carbon footprint.
“That is why this investment has a twofold mission: to help mitigate the great problem of plastic waste and, simultaneously, to produce construction materials with a low CO2 footprint.”