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Interview with Sebastia Alegre, Managing Director, CRH Spain

Sebastia Alegre talks to Ashtrans about the use of lignite fly ash for concrete in Catalonia and consumption of fly ash across Europe

Ashtrans Europe (AE): What is your company Beton Catalan S.A. doing and with what relation to CRH?

Sebastia Alegre (SA): Beton Catalan is a group of market leading companies in Spain, in the concrete, quarries, precast, erection, PFA, G.G.B.S and additives sectors. The group is 100% CRH.

AE: You have a history of knowledge of the use of lignite fly ash for concrete in Catalonia – can you please explain a little more?

SA: Lignite fly ashes were initially produced in a thermal power station in Catalonia, roughly 115 km from Barcelona. Their use in concrete began in the 70’s.

In the 80’s, CABI, S.A., a company that today belongs to CRH group, was the first to commercialise use of fly ash. However, we had many problems at first, particularly due to the high free lime content of fly ash in Catalonia, originated in the natural resistance to the change, and also fly ashes of Catalonia.

The regulations regarding fly ash utilisation were developed in 1983 following an expert conference. These regulations are still in place today. Since 2012 our original thermal power plant providing the ash has been deactivated.
To improve the efficiency of fly ashes we installed ball mills that finely grind the free lime. This hydrates the ash and complements the pozzolanic character of fly ashes of Catalonia.

CABI, S.A. also has exclusive rights to market fly ashes from other thermal power stations in Andalucía and Aragón.

CABI, S.A. was the biggest commercial trader of fly ashes reaching figures than more than 30.000 tonnes per month, over more than 20 years. Our consumers are primarily in Andalucía, Valencia, Madrid, Valladolid, Burgos, Aragón and Basque Country.

Today the coal-fired power generation capacity is shrinking. This, and the distance from the production centres to the consumer, as well as cement oversupply, has contributed to a reduction in fly ash consumption in Catalonia.

Is there in your opinion a difference between lignite fly ashes from different parts of – say Europe?

SA: No. Fly ashes are basically the same, whether they are class C, or class F. Consumption of fly ash across Europe depends primarily on the distance from the production centre to the consumer, and on the cement price.

Resistance to fly ash utilisation in Europe has traditionally had the same basis as in Spain. Today the decision to use, or not to use, fly ashes is based on objective parameters, costs, and improvement of the concrete workability.

AE: How do you view the market expansion of lignite fly ash?

SA: It is shrinking. The future of lignite fly ash production is linked to coal-fired power generation, and to the restrictions on CO2 emissions.

AE: Finally, you’re speaking at Ashtrans Europe in October. What are you most looking forward to hearing about?

SA: I think it will be a great opportunity to explain the European fly ash market, and to generate ideas for the use of fly ashes, that have been the most brilliant innovation of the last 50 years for cost reduction, energy consumption, CO2 emission reduction, and concrete quality improvement for the construction industry.


This content is provided by Coaltrans Conferences for informational purposes only, and it reflects the market and industry conditions and presenter’s opinions and affiliations available at the time of the presentation.

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