Innovative cement solutions to tackle hazardous nuclear waste are being developed by Lucideon in partnership with NUVIA.
Lucideon is working alongside international nuclear engineering, project management and service provider NUVIA to develop a geopolymer cement which will encapsulate hazardous wastes.
The two companies formed a collaboration after Lucideon responded to a Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Nuclear Innovation Exchange (NUiX) challenge advertised by NUVIA.
After presenting its proposed geopolymer solution at a KTN ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event at the Harwell Campus, Lucideon teamed up with NUVIA to develop the project.
Stuart MacLachlan, Head of R&D at Lucideon, said: "This 12-month project builds on Lucideon's work in developing geopolymers tailored for a variety of construction and encapsulation applications.
"Previous work has seen us develop a formulation with excellent flow properties that effectively encapsulates particulate wastes, as well as one that can encapsulate 28 vol% of oil in a strong impermeable body, three times the amount that can be incorporated in Portland cement."
The geopolymer formulations and process methods aim to maximise the amount of waste encapsulated as well as ensuring compliance with disposal requirements.
Adrian Davis-Johnston, Head of Research, Development and Innovation at NUVIA, said: "This project is the first step of a timely opportunity to produce disruptive cement technology using FI (foundation industry) wastes, creating internationally attractive products with low CO2 footprints.
"We are particularly grateful to the KTN who introduced Lucideon to us during one of their pitching sessions. Collaboration is key to solving the issue of hazardous waste encapsulation."
The project is supported by Sellafield Ltd and the Problematic Waste Integrated Project Team (PW IPT) which was set up by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in 2016.
Mark Cowper, Radioactive Waste Management Ltd and a member of the Core Team who is delivering the PW IPT on behalf of the NDA said: "We strongly support any further development planned on geopolymer technologies to treat oils and oily wastes and look forward to seeing how this technology develops.
"The work represents an opportunity to open a new treatment route for oils and oily wastes that are currently considered as problematic."
The geopolymer solution was awarded funding as part of the Transforming Foundation Industries (TFI) programme, which helps the traditionally energy-intensive businesses of the foundation industries (metals, paper, glass, cements, ceramics and chemicals) collaborate and develop transformative innovations to reduce their carbon footprint.
The funding is delivered through the Government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, by UK Research and Innovation.
Bruce Adderley, Challenge Director - Transforming Foundation Industries, UKRI said: "The Foundation Industries are an inherent long-term part of our society, and the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge is designed to enable their environmentally sustainable future.
"This project, which will deliver a disruptive cement technology using Foundation Industry wastes, enables just that by improving resource efficiency, contributing to net zero targets by lowering the supply chain CO2 footprint, and supporting their customer's journey to minimising environmental impact."