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On May 26-28, the III International Business Meeting entitled White Nights: Cement. Concrete. Dry Mixtures 2015 took place at Grand Hotel Europe. The event was organized by the ALITinform: Cement. Concrete. Dry Mixtures (2015-06-08)

On May 26-28, the III International Business Meeting entitled White Nights: Cement. Concrete. Dry Mixtures 2015 took place at Grand Hotel Europe. The event was organized by the ALITinform: Cement. Concrete. Dry Mixtures International Analytical Review and the Russian Union of Builders.

In the two days, there were 25 presentations, and the event was attended by experts from 15 countries including Russia, Germany, China, Finland, Switzerland, Belarus, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Portugal, Syria, Poland, Norway, Latvia, and Jordan.
A key problem that was discussed intensively at the business meeting was the impact of the crisis on the building material industry, the outlook for its ending, and forecasts of further development of the industry in the EU and Russia, which were both optimistic and conservative. We do not want to base our forecasts on experts vision. The foundation should be data, numbers, and a mathematical model, said Janos Gaspar, Managing Director of Buildecon - EECFA Central. Eduard Bolshakov, Chairman of the Committee of Cement, Concrete and Dry Mixtures of the Russian Union of Builders, made a presentation about the Russian cement market with an analysis of the Russian market dynamics, an outlook of the industrys development, and an overview of the problems that exist at the moment and possible ways of their solution. Pekka Pajakkala, Member of the Board of Directors of FORECON Oy, told about the cement market dynamics and changes in the sector of construction of residential, non-residential, industrial, and civil properties in USA, Europe, and Germany in connection with the GDP change from 2003 to 2017, noting the possibility of growth on the Russian building market in 2016 provided that the oil prices would continue growing.

Michail Burmistrov, CEO of INFOLine-Analitika, and Ilya Volodko, General Director of EECFA Russia, investigated how the EU sanctions and the Ukrainian events could affect the building market in the next three years. Yuri Goncharov, President of the Russian Gypsum Association, used gypsum consumption as an example for stating that Europe has long been facing signs of market stagnation and that further growth will be provided by the emerging economies of Southeast Asia and Latin America. Tongbo Sui, Vice President of China Sinoma International Engineering, presented the results and development strategy of the Chinese cement industry for the next five years and said that now is the time when China has reached its peak in clinker production (60 % of the global amount), which will be followed by a gradual reduction.

Overcoming the crisis by making companies more competitive was the next key discussion point at the meeting. Competitiveness improvement is basically about raising the production efficiency at cement plants. The guests discussed the need to complete retrofitting of the industry plants, which would cut energy costs and raise productivity radically. China is ready to share its relevant experience with Russia, as only 2 % of equipment in the Chinese cement industry has not been upgraded.

Sergey Sivkov, Head of the Department of Chemical Technology of Composites and Binders at the D. Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, moderated a roundtable discussion on what should and can be done for raising the efficiency of the cement industry.

All the waste should be a commodity, said Valentin Bushikhin, Science Adviser of the Industrial Design Department at the Ecology and Hygienics Institute. That was another key point of the entire conference. China produces ~2.4 bln tons of cement per year, and the share of alternative fuel (AF) is 40 %, whereas in Russia AF is not used at all with the exception of one plant in Slantsy even despite all the opportunities that are available. On December 29, 2014, the law No. 89 entitled On Production and Consumption Waste was signed, and it will become effective on January 1, 2016. As the speaker said, there is no other solution but the mutual interest of AF producers and consumers. Many speakers also remarked that more attention should be paid to pollution control in the process of production.

Alexander Ptichnikov, Technical Director of Mechel-Materials LLC, spoke of the benefits of Portland cement with the admixture of granulated blast furnace slag, which are as durable and cold-resistant as Portland cement.

Philippe Fonta, Managing Director of the Cement Sustainability Initiative, made a presentation entitled How to ensure the sustainability of concrete: the action of the Concrete Sustainability Council (CSC) and expressed great interest in contacts with Russian cement producers.

Luis Silva, Chairman of the Technical Committee of the European Mortar Industry Organization (EMO), and Eduard Bolshakov spoke of the situation on the dry building mixture market and the basic trends in technology development.

Of great interest was the presentation of Sergey Sivkov with an interesting summary of articles on prospective use of alternative cements. He told about the cement types that are an alternative to Portland cement, in which area of construction they will find use (depending on their physical and chemical properties), and which materials are the future of the cement industry in the next 5-10 years. Jurgen Oecknick from PSA Zurich Area GmbH shared their experience of cutting the costs of concrete production without prejudice to the quality.

In the evening, the guests were offered a tour of the Neva where they could continue discussing the issues of the conference in detail.

We are grateful to all the speakers and participants of the White Nights meeting and hope that words will be followed by action, which can be discussed already at the next White Nights-2017 meeting in just two years. The presentations from this years White Nights meeting will be published in the next issues of ALITinform: Cement. Concrete. Dry Mixtures International Analytical Review.

Full details of the meeting will be avaliable on the official web-site.

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