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Research and Technology

The aim of research and development (R&D) at Heidelberg Materials is to develop innovative products, new product formulations, and process improvements, in order to minimise the use of energy, CO₂ emissions, and hence costs.

Focus and intensity of our research and development activities

Research and development activities at Heidelberg Materials can essentially be divided into the following areas of focus:

  • Innovative concrete systems: The main priority is the development and improvement of binders and concretes with optimised properties and innovative functionalities. Recently, we focused on further developing 3D concrete printing technology.
  • Development of cements and concretes with improved carbon footprints: We are developing composite cements and concretes with less clinker and cement. Reducing the proportion of clinker in cement is the most important lever when it comes to minimising energy consumption and CO₂ emissions during production and helps to preserve natural raw materials.
  • Circular economy with concrete: We are working on innovative recycling technologies that will make it possible to completely reuse waste concrete in fresh concrete. We are also researching processes to incorporate CO₂ in our products by means of carbonation, which allows us to use building materials for CO₂ storage.
  • Development of new technologies for CO₂ reduction: We are raising the proportion of biomass fuels, exploring the use of hydrogen, and increasing the electrification of our processes. We are developing projects for carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS).

Development of advanced automation solutions: With the help of artificial intelligence, we are looking for solutions to reduce energy consumption, keep our equipment in perfect condition, and maintain consistent product quality.

Sustainability and innovation go hand in hand. At present we are developing, with international partners, a construction method for concrete that could well revolutionise the storage of excess energy from offshore wind farms.

Eckhard Wagner, Team Leader Concrete & Application Development

Heidelberg Technology Center

Heidelberg Technology Center

Organisation and fields of activities in the area of R&D and innovation

Our global competence centers Competence Center Cement (CCC), Competence Center Materials (CCM), Competence Center Readymix (CCR), as well as the Global Research & Development (GRD) and Technologies & Partnerships teams pool the knowledge in our Group and make it available to all operating units.

Technology and innovation

The CCC assists our cement plants by providing specialist knowledge on all technical matters, from securing raw materials and improving production and maintenance to process control and quality assurance. The CCC also coordinates all strategic projects from the feasibility study to commissioning at the targeted level of performance.

Similarly, the CCM supports the aggregates business area across the Group with programmes for continuous improvement and performance management. Its tasks also include the planning and implementation of projects as well as digitalisation and automation. In addition, the CCM offers training and further training.

The CCR, a comparable organisation for the ready-mixed concrete business line, focuses on the continuous optimisation of raw materials and logistics costs and of the profit margin.