The Campus de Excelencia Internacional en Medio Ambiente, Biodiversidad y Cambio Global, coordinated by the Universidad Pablo de Olavide and with the participation of seven Andalusian universities and CSIC, along with the Federación Española de Centros Tecnológicos, has developed the working avenue entitled ‘Impulso a la Investigación Aplicada’ (Promotion of Applied Research). This action, developed within the framework of a programme for campuses of excellence sponsored by the Spanish ministry of Education, culture and science, aims at promoting the transference of knowledge in the university environment, integrating technological centres into the CEIs and encouraging cooperation between researchers in universities and in technological centres.
Manuel Cruz Yusta, a researcher in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Universidad de Córdoba, has benefitted from this new alliance with his stay at the Laboratorio de Materiales Cementantes Hidráulicos, Instítuto Tecnológico de la Construcción (Laboratory of Hydraulic Cements, Technological Institute of Construction). During this stay he has completed a research programme on the theoretical modelling of the composition of mortars, cements and concretes, and the utilisation of waste of different origins. Specifically, the study aims at the valorisation of agricultural waste and at the development of a product from coconut skins with uses in the construction sector.
During his stay in this technological centre Manuel Cruz Yusta has followed two different avenues for the valorisation of the residue. First, he has worked on the development of an additive obtained from agricultural waste capable of absorbing between 3 and 3.5 times its own weight of water without varying in volume, and therefore of liberating this water slowly. ‘This product will allow for a reduction in the water/cement ratio, reducing retraction problems. It will be very useful in a number of applications, for example, the preparation of high-resistance concrete’, he says.
Second, during his stay at AIDICO Manuel Cruz has also focused on the calcination of the material under study, for energy generation and for the production of ash for construction material.
‘In the past year we have focused on these materials and we are currently carrying out the final tests’, says the researcher, who is grateful for the chance offered by CEI CamBio. ‘I have been able to work with a team of people who are fully up to date and fully committed to applied research. In addition, the centre has the necessary specialised equipment for the development of these materials, making it a reference laboratory at the national and the international levels’.
CEI CamBio is a project focused on development and research around global change and its ecological and socioeconomic impact, with the participation of the Universities of Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Huelva, Internacional de Andalucia, Jaen and the CSIC, under the coordination of Universidad Pablo de Olavide. This coalition of Andalusian knowledge aims at becoming an international reference in environment, biodiversity and global change related studies, by combining Andalusia’s unique conditions for the analysis of ecosystems and the input of the prestigious Andalusian scientific community.