Research and development
The SAQ has funded a major applied research project, the Chaire SAQ de valorisation du verre dans les matériaux de l'Université de Sherbrooke, since 2004. Thanks to a $2 million investment over ten years, the team has developed ways to use crushed and pulverized glass in concrete and pavers.
Since it began incorporating glass powder and aggregates into concrete slabs for the floors of 18 SAQ stores, a new addition to one of its administrative buildings and other projects, the SAQ has used more than three million bottles recovered through selective collection.
The results of this research have several positive impacts above and beyond adding value to glass. These include:
- improving concrete performance (durability, impermeability and strength);
- reducing the greenhouse gas emissions generated by cement manufacturing;
- obtaining points toward LEED certification by using glass powder in construction projects.
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Commercialization of glass powder begins
To make the widespread use of glass powder possible, the non-profit organization Tricentris has built a glass micronization plant in Lachute. The new plant processes recovered glass from sorting centres. The glass will be conditioned and micronized into a powder that can be used as a cement additive.
In March 2014, Tricentris officially began commercial production. Outputting 1 metric tonne of glass powder an hour, Tricentris has set itself the objective of producing 6,000 metric tonnes per year.
The advantages of using glass powder as a cement additive are beginning to attract the attention of an increasing number of players in the construction industry. At the invitation of the Quebec Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council, several industry stakeholders recently gathered for a conference lunch with researchers from the Chair to learn more about glass powder and potential opportunities.
The SAQ also took part in a research project to determine the properties of glass used in geothermal wells. The project was carried out in cooperation with the Tricentris sorting centre, Golder Associates and the École Polytechnique de Montréal. The SAQ has invested more than $90,000 in a partnership with the Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ) to discover new uses for mixed glass (mixed colours) from selective collection.
Now a member of the non-profit organization FÉRIC, the SAQ is taking part in research and development projects to obtain reliable information about various technologies that reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in road transport operations.