ASHCON – processed ash from incinerated waste as a raw material for making concrete

Ash after incinerating waste
© Shutterstock / ekki
Ash from incinerated waste.

With resource-efficient recycling management in mind, the ASHCON research project aims to explore ways to recycle processed ash from waste incineration plants as a raw material for concrete. The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP is a partner in this project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the measure “Resource-efficient circular economy - Building and mineral cycles (ReMin)”. It supports the project by processing waste incineration residues in the laboratory, using its processing expertise in electrodynamic fragmentation.


Project goals

In order to be able to use processed ash from incinerated waste as a base material for concrete, first of all the various constituents of the ash, especially the mineral residues, must be separated as effectively as possible into their respective fractions. Fraunhofer IBP uses the innovative processing method of electrodynamic fragmentation to do this. In an ideal case, the required raw materials are cleanly separated without any other ash constituents such as metals or glass adhering to them, which could impair the properties of the concrete. Thanks to the use of commercial sorting technologies, the ash is processed in such a way that the remaining residues can be used in concrete production.

Besides processing waste incineration residues, Fraunhofer IBP aims to test the durability of concrete formulations containing processed ash constituents. The concretes developed in the project will be tested for their resistance to freeze-thaw cycles, also using de-icing salts (CDF/CF method). In addition, their alkali-silica reaction potential (ASR potential) will also be examined.

Current project status

Fraunhofer IBP is supporting and accompanying the ASHCON project in two work packages:

The initial focus is on processing waste incineration residues and extracting ferrous or non-ferrous metals and glass, as well as characterizing the chemical-mineral content. The residues are processed using the innovative separation technology of electrodynamic fragmentation, which is capable of separating the ash extremely effectively into its various constituents.

Fraunhofer IBP will further support the project by examining the durability of concrete formulations containing varying amounts of the processed residues. 


  • Cologne University of Applied Sciences 
  • Aachen Institute for Nuclear Training GmbH (AiNT)
  • Fertigbeton Rheinland GmbH & Co. KG
  • Münster University of Applied Sciences
  • RWTH Aachen University