A low-cost, environmentally responsible product made from recycled material
Ube Industries, Ltd. (President: Kazumasa Tsunemi) has completed a trial facility for the mass production of artificial sand. Located at the company's Okinoyama Coal Center in the city of Ube, the facility will recycle fly ash collected by electrostatic precipitators at coal-fired power stations. The artificial sand will be sold under the Z-sand brand. The new facility is capable of processing 50,000 tons of fly ash annually to produce 76,000 tons of artificial sand.
The Z-sand project is a trial business supported by the Clean Japan Center (CJC), an organization linked to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Experimental operations begin in April. At the same time, the company will conduct preliminary marketing activities targeting national and local governments and their agencies, general contractors and site preparation companies.
The company began basic research several years ago into producing artificial sand from fly ash, as a means of effectively utilizing the growing volume of this waste material. Work to date has covered production technology, potential applications and evaluations of the product's environmental impact. After confirming the technical and economical viability of the business, the company successfully won certification for the new facility from CJC as a "Waste Material Recycling Demonstration Plant" in fiscal 2001.
Several types of fly ash pulverization technologies are currently used to produce materials needed in civil engineering projects. However, due to complex and costly production processes, all have limited applications. Z-sand, on the other hand, is a low cost material and can be handled in the same manner as natural sand and earth, making it suitable for a much broader range of civil engineering applications. These attributes make Z-sand the first type of artificial sand suitable for high-volume use.
A replacement for natural sand and earth used in civil engineering projects, as a material for filling, roadbeds, backfill and other uses.
Major ingredients are fly ash, cement, other inorganic compounds that serve as hardening agents, and water. Fly ash is weighed and then combined with water in a batch pulverizer so as to conduct pulverization and mixing simultaneously. Next, the mixture is cured for one to two days indoors, and then stored outdoors. The finished product consists of gray granules that have an average diameter of approximately one millimeter.