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5-year investment in the SAQ Chair for the Valorization of Glass in Materials

Sherbrooke, April 14, 2021 – The SAQ Chair for the Valorization of Glass in Materials, held by Arezki Tagnit-Hamou, Professor in the Faculty of Engineering of the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS), can continue to count on the enthusiasm and contribution of its partners in work on the use of glass powder as an additive for concrete. UdeS and its main partner for the past 16 years, the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), have announced new funding of five years for the Chair in partnership with Hydro-Québec, the Ville de Montréal, the Ville de Sherbrooke, Éco Entreprises Québec, Prodexim International, Techo-Bloc, and the UdeS Foundation. The Chair will therefore be able to draw from funding of approximately $2.4 million from 2020 to 2024.

Glass powder: from standardization to more widespread use
Over the past five years, the Chair’s team has looked into ways that glass powder can be standardized as a cementitious material according to both the Canadian (CSA A3000) and American (ASTM) standards, all while working to transfer knowledge to the industry. The research team also obtained a patent in Canada, Europe, the United States and Brazil for the manufacturing of types of ultra-high performance concrete. No new cement additives have been standardized in the world in the last 40 years.
With these successes in hand, the SAQ Chair intends to increase synergy between industry, municipalities, and its activities in the search for ever-more innovative solutions. They will work together to:

  • Recover mixed glass and develop other types of concrete.
  • Continue transferring technology to the cement and concrete industry.
  • Help standardize the use of glass in concrete and characterize glass aggregates from Quebec’s sorting centres.
  • Perform life cycle analyses of concrete that contain glass powder additives.

“My great hope is that our efforts will lead to a shift in the more widespread use of glass powder in concrete. We are still scratching the surface of glass powder applications in transportation and architecture. We need to continue transferring technology to the industry and to infrastructure managers, such as municipalities,” said Professor Tagnit-Hamou.

“Quebec will institute its larger consignment program in 2022, when industries will have access to a large quantity of high-quality recovered glass that is ready for processing. Glass powder is an ideal way to reuse this material, particularly as a component in concrete,” said Marie-Hélène Lagacé, Vice-President, Public Affairs and Social Responsibility, SAQ.

Successful projects, including a world first
Glass powder and its possible applications are attracting interest around the world. Research has shown that replacing part of cement with glass powder results in a much more durable, impermeable and resistant concrete while significantly reducing the GHG emissions associated with its production. Recently, the use of glass powder in the Darwin Bridge in L’Île-des-Sœurs—a world first—got the attention of scientists and Quebeckers. The equivalent of 70,000 wine bottles found a new life in the second Darwin Bridge built in 2021 and saved 40,000 kg of cement. The American Concrete Institute (ACI) – Quebec and Eastern Ontario Chapter honoured this project with a 2021 Excellence Award in the “Infrastructure” category.

Professor Jean-Pierre Perreault, Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies stated that, “The continuation of this Chair’s research will reinforce UdeS’s position as a leader in knowledge transfer and materials valorization. For us, concrete research has been a foundational group and a decisive resource on the world stage of academic research. By training highly qualified personnel in this industry, and with the help of long-time partner the SAQ,
UdeS has once again demonstrated that innovation can be injected into any sector of activity.”

Additional information:
Découverte report: Glass powder cement (french only)
SAQ Chair for the Valorization of Glass in Materials
Professional page of Chair Arezki Tagnit-Hamou
SAQ statement : A second life for glass