Skip to main content
Λογότυπος της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Building a harmonized European database on natural stones for the use of construction and restoration stakeholders.

Objectives of the commitment

The main objective of NATUREUROSTONES is to build an inter-disciplinary network to provide a range of information on natural stones as raw materials from different sources, in a harmonized and standardized way, in the form of a Europe-wide database of natural stones - the NATUREUROSTONES Database. This will encourage activities of the natural stone sector in recovering after the economic crisis affecting this sector. Exploration, extraction, processing and recycling, trading, development, skills and education are the different areas that will benefit from this consortium. The goal is to strengthen Europe´s position on the forefront of natural stone research, within the European Union Raw Materials Knowledge Base. The final, specific objective is to develop a database to supply the information to the interested parties in a harmonized and interoperable way.

Description of the activities

Natural stones have been used as raw material in construction for centuries. However, even today, in many instances natural stones are not used properly, in either construction or restoration, due to lack of knowledge or lack of access to relevant information concerning the range, character and availability of commercially supplied stones. It is important to know the sources of natural stones available in Europe to select these in preference to those stones imported from non-European countries, which usually are not accompanied by proper information on their nature and even a lack of information on specifications following standards. All the partners involved in this commitment are experts in one or various fields related to stones, producing an interdisciplinary consortium involving academics from the universities (Salamanca in Spain, Torino and Genova in Italy and Coimbra in Portugal); geological surveys (British Geological Survey and Spanish Geological Survey); museums (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France, and the Museo Regionale Di Scienze Naturali in Turin, Italy); laboratories (INTROMAC in Spain, laboratory of natural radioactivity in Portugal, and the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute in Slovenia); quarrying-related industries (Minas y Geología in Spain, Pierres et Marbres de Wallonie in Belgium) and a consultant.
The main activity will be to assemble as much of the relevant but currently scattered information as possible from the countries involved, with the idea that the network will widen during the time that the commitment will last. For this reason, the first activity will be to list the databases on natural stones available at national and regional level. Also, we will seek possible ways to fund complete characterization of natural stones that are lacking important information (e.g. through national and European project calls). At present, the IUGS working group HSTG (Heritage Stone Task Group) is working on the compilation of data of important natural stones that have been used for centuries in the construction of the built heritage. This information should be part of the common database.
Another important activity will be to give light to the natural stone collections that are maintained by some institutions. These are important not only for knowledge about the different stones at national and international level, but also as an outreach activity for general public to learn to appreciate the value of individual natural stones. Therefore, a list of collections of natural stones around Europe will be established to give appropriate diffusion, as important complement of the final database.
The evolution of the activities will be reported regularly in the national and international meetings where the partners coordinate sessions frequently or in those specific sessions for construction and building materials, where we will contribute (e.g. IGC 2016, EMC 2016, EGU 2017), publishing our results regularly with the objective of engaging more partners into our project, including European Standardization Bodies.
If funding is available through research budget, a major activity will be to organize a meeting with all the partners involved in the commitment, with the objective of canalizing synergies and elaborate common research proposals to advance in the characterization of stones, increase the information available, and the diffusion of the database for its public use. Otherwise, ICTs will be used to maintain the contact and evolve in the commitment to reach its objectives.

Description of the expected impacts

The implementation of this commitment should bring substantial benefits to the European Union Raw Materials Knowledge Base area, and other areas of the Knowledge, skills and raw materials flow priority area, such as Health, Safety and Environment, through the information on e.g. natural radioactivity in natural stones, their quarrying and their use, and Skills, Education and Knowledge, increasing the expertise levels of Europe by making available wide information on natural stones as raw materials for construction and restoration. The availability of all this information will also add to the transparency of EU natural stones for trading, including specific and valuable information to compete with other products lacking such detailed information, increasing therefore the knowledge of EU natural stone for different stakeholders.
Our commitment will be materialized in a most important deliverable: a common standardized database of European natural stones that will contribute to the use of European resources (i.e. natural stones) reducing imports of low quality raw materials and promotion of exports by improving information available as added value of our products. At the same time, it will assist to support any possible European Union initiative to give protected designation of origin status for important types of European stone, contributing towards putting Europe at the forefront in the natural stone sectors by making Europe a leader in the capabilities related to the use of appropriate material both in construction and restoration.

Coordinating organisation & role

Name of the coordinating organisation: University of SalamancaCountry: SpainEntity profile: AcademiaRole within the commitment:

The university of Salamanca (USAL), through its research group “Characterization of Geomaterials” (CHARROCK) will coordinate the action to gather the information on Spanish natural stones but also the stones from around Europe that have been subjects of our research (e.g. through the HSTG). USAL will also seek for funding sources to complement the necessary data on all aspects that can be analyzed either at its own labs or partners´s equipments.

Other partners

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.

Name of the organisation: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V. Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Fraunhofer will lead the CFRP and GFRP recycling research.
Fraunhofer will perform corrosion tests on the developed materials.
Fraunhofer will work with CIDAUT on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project. Fraunhofer is the Quality Manager of the Consortium and will oversee deliverables and general reporting are produced with the best possible quality following agreed review standards.

Fundacion Cidaut

Name of the organisation: Fundacion Cidaut Country: Spain Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: CIDAUT will lead the research activities on materials recycling and compounding, implementing lab scale demonstrators of each process at its premises and, later, supporting end-users upscale the processes.
CIDAUT will perform mechanical tests, microstructural analyses, injection moulding capability studies on the developed materails, and will work with Fraunhofer on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project.

RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV)

Name of the organisation: RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV) Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: RWTH will implement the novel 3D Generative Preforming process (3D Fibre Spraying) that enables to create high-value long fibre-reinforced 3D preforms for thermoplastic and thermoset composites at low process costs (different kinds of yarn as a raw material, low tooling costs due to low cavity pressures). This cost effective technology allows to align the sprayed fibres in order to produce high-performance, engineered anisotropic products.

Universita' di Cagliari

Name of the organisation: Universita' di Cagliari Country: Italy Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: University of Cagliari is one of the leading European organization in the resin design and coupling with thermoplastic and thermose materials. University of Cagliari will support in the definition of the composite materials, both from CFRP/GFRP, ABS and Rare Earth composite material.

Relight

Name of the organisation: Relight Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: RELIGHT will work with ITRB to provide the research partners with residues for the recycled ABS supply and the REE recovery processes, including their HydroWEEE process as part of the processes to be studied and analyzed.

Piaggio Aerospace

Name of the organisation: Piaggio Aerospace Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: Piaggio Aerospace is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Piaggio will assist in the compounds selection, provide Fraunhofer with specific corrosion requirements on business jet size aircraft, and will assess that the developed materials performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

Blackshape Aircrafts

Name of the organisation: Blackshape Aircrafts Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: Blackshape Aircrafts is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Blackshape will support to fulfill the requirements of the aeronautics industry on ultra light jet, light jet and trainer for Syllabus, and will assess that the developed alloys performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.

KU Leuven

Name of the organisation: KU Leuven Country: Belgium Entity profile: Academia
Role within the commitment: KUL will collaborate on the balance problem studies and will lead the rare earth recovery research with the solvometallurgical and ionometallurgical processes.
KUL will also contribute to the final compounding selection.
KUL is the Dissemination Manager of the project, promoting that all partners are active on the project Dissemination.

FIDAMC

Name of the organisation: FIDAMC Country: Spain Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: FIDAMC is going to lead the Work Package on Compression Moulding with CFRP-enhanced materials. As part of the AIRBUS Group, FIDAMC will also be able to provide the input material.
FIDAMC successfully developed a 3D Printer of own design to serve the Aerospace Industry and will be supporting Smart Lab 3D Industries in its 3D printer design.

COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER

Name of the organisation: COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER Country: Canada Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Composite Innovation Center is one of the world leading organization in the field of Composite materials, both from carbon fiber and vegetal-based fibers.
Composite Innovation center has successfully implemented, at lab-scale, recycling processes for CFRP and GFRP.

Existing EU Contribution: No

Period to implement the commitment: from 01-07-2016 to 01-07-2018