Archiv – Aino Heikkinen of Finland has taken the top prize in the European Union’s Women Inventors & Innovators awards for recycled building materials used in low-cost housing in Africa.Finland | Aino Heikkinen of Finland has taken the top prize in the European Union’s Women Inventors & Innovators awards for recycled building materials used in low-cost housing in Africa. Aino Heikkinen was voted the overall winner for her patented TEXCEM process for recycling waste synthetic rags and combining them with microcement. Heikkinen is a concrete engineer and Director of CT Microtechnology in Varkaus.
The competition’s judges were impressed not only by Heikkinen’s inventiveness in coming up with the technology, but also the innovative way she has developed novel uses for the material, such as providing immediate and affordable accommodation for people in developing countries or who are affected by natural disasters. According to the inventor herself, waste is an excellent source of raw material. ’There is plenty of useful matter in waste which can be exploited.’
‘€˜We shouldn’t throw it away,’€™ Heikkinen told the Finnish recycling magazine Uusiouutiset. In the production of recycled cement, various kinds of waste and industrial by-products can be used. The exact recipes are Heikkinen’s business secrets, but textile waste is one ingredient. ‘€˜Important properties of cement include strength, constancy and viscosity, and it’s the last of these which is achieved by adding some shredded textile waste to the material.’€™
The new inexpensive building material has attracted attention both in Finland and abroad. Apart from the price, another important factor in Africa, for example, is the fact that the cement is light and easy to work. In tests, the novel material has proved to have very good capacities. Investors are being sought to bring the innovation to market.
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