Cleantech Hero Circular economy

In this category 5 finalists were appointed: Circular Matters, Nuresys, Orineo, Resus and THIOMATERIALS. “We had to conclude that our five finalists scored very highly on many points”, the jury stated. After deliberation, the jury elected THIOMATERIALS of De Bonte group as second Cleantech Hero laureate in June 2021. THIOMATERIALS specialises in the development of railway sleepers and sewage pipes from 100 % circular sulphur concrete.


THIOMATERIALS pioneered with railway sleepers and sewage pipes from 100 % circular sulphurous concrete. In sulphur concrete, cement and water as binding agents are replaced by sulphur that is completely circular. This eliminates the traditional heavy CO2 emissions from cement and also avoids the use of precious water. The production is based on the physical process of melting and solidifying sulphur. Because this process can be repeated endlessly, the sulphur concrete can be reused endlessly as a primary raw material. This allows network operators to fully embrace circularity. When using sulphurous concrete, CO2 emissions are reduced by approximately 40 % to 80 % compared to similar products made from traditional concrete, synthetic materials or ceramics.

Thanks to the circular properties of sulphuric concrete, there are no secondary waste flows and both pipes and sleepers can be completely reworked into identical products without any loss of quality. Trial projects at Aquafin, Infrabel, De Lijn, SNCF and NS were successful and resulted in accreditations and quality marks. By using this sulphur concrete, Infrabel, for example, will reduce its CO2 emissions by 6,000 tonnes through the already planned replacement of 200,000 railway sleepers with THIOTRACK sleepers made from sulphur concrete.

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Houthalen, 20 February 2022

Responsible publisher: Frans Snijkers, Director
Text: Cleantech Flanders
Concept and design: Kaplus

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