BIRHAKOM, a pioneering project with benefits in Ecology and Local economy.
In collaboration with Tecnalia and with funding from the European Union and the Basque Government, Amurrio Ferrocarril y Equipos is aiming to reduce the discharge of waste, transforming it into fertilizer or filler for geothermal facilities.
The BIRHAKOM project, seeks to reduce the discharge of foundry sand once it has been disposed of in dumps and landfills. Through an innovative process of composting together with the remains of vegetable pruning and manure from nearby farms, the residues are transformed into agricultural fertilizer or high added value filling material for the installation of geothermal systems.
The system has important benefits for the ecology and local economy. The ultimate goal is to recycle sand by composting, preserving the environment, reducing the use of raw materials and seeking ecological and sustainable solutions. This project thus enhances the circular economy, following a model in which waste becomes a resource at the end of the product’s useful life.
AMURRIO FERROCARRIL Y EQUIPOS is the first company in the Basque Country to recycle foundry sand through the composting system. This is a great advance with benefits for the ecology in our environment, as well as a boost to the sustainability of the foundry industry. It is also expected that this project will generate a reduction in logistics and waste disposal costs and the creation of at least three jobs between 2021 and 2023.
The manufacture of metal parts through the casting process consists of pouring the molten metal into a sand mould with the shape of the part to be obtained. When retrieving the part, a large amount of sand is generated.
Recovery processes are capable of recycling up to 85-90% of the sand to be reused in moulds, however, when it reaches the end of its life cycle, it becomes a waste that is deposited in landfills.
Local landfills are being replaced by large European ones with long distances with subsequent cost increase. It is in this context that the alternative proposed by the BIRHAKOM project takes on all its meaning.
Using this method of bio regeneration of foundry sands, the presence of contaminated materials in landfills can be reduced, and this new bio-stabilized material or compost can be used for soil conditioning and filling material, as well as in geoengineering applications.
The composting process combines the mixture of green foliage with wood, sand and animal excrement. Due to the abundance of nutrients used by microbes for energy, the degradation of organic matter is relatively rapid at the beginning of the composting process. In this first phase, the thermal energy produced by the active microbes causes the temperature of the pile to increase. As nutrients are consumed, microbial activity decreases and temperature drops.
Subsequently, the microorganisms degrade the cellulose and lignin; the pH stabilizes and the oxygen demand is reduced.
The final stage, which takes around 4 to 9 months, of the composting process is curing, aging, or maturation. The microbial activity decreases and pathogens for humans disappear, leaving an excellent material, very rich in nutrients for plants, while being inert and safe for use in agricultural applications.
AMURRIO FERRROCARRIL Y EQUIPOS, S.A.; Project leader
This company designs, produces and installs railway equipment since its foundation in 1880.
In 1929 it moved to a new, larger and better equipped facility, making the foundry process its core business. From its site in Amurrio it quickly developed into a well-known partner and supplier for the railway industry and has been participating in the main railway construction projects in Spain and Europe throughout the 20th century.
In 1995, already under the name of AMURRIO FERROCARRIL Y EQUIPOS SA, it began a new stage in which it specialized in the design and manufacture of turnouts, crossings and track components for high-speed rail, tram, subway, conventional rail and tracks. freight around the world. It currently exports more than 50% of its production.
For more information about the project, contact direcly with:
T. +34 945 891 600
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News proposed by FUNDIGEX – Spanish Association of Foundry Exporters