Techno-economic impact assessment of recycled gypsum usage in plasterboard manufacturing


Recycled gypsum derived from post-consumer sources is a promising resource that can be reincorporated in the production chain, offering opportunities to decrease manufacturing costs given its significantly lower price compared to conventional gypsum. The systematic usage of post-consumer recycled gypsum is a relatively new practice in the plasterboard industry and there is lack of extensive literature references on the potential effects on the manufacturig process, since the available related studies are limited to more holistic approaches. The current work is, to our knowledge, the first study to assess the practice of gypsum recycling from an economical and technical point of view within the boundaries of the plasterboard manufacturing process. The paper provides a detailed techno-economic impact assessment of the usage of recycled gypsum up to 30% by weight in feedstock in the manufacturing of Type A plasterboard, based on data collected from full-scale industrial production trials carried out in five representative European plants located in four different countries. The potential impacts are analyzed in relation to each affected process parameter. A series of options for process adjustments, modifications and corrective measures in order to amortize the effects on product quality and/or cost are also reported. The analysis indicates high dependence of the cost impacts on process-specific characteristics. A limited reduction of 0.6% in the average total manufacturing cost per m2 of plasterboard was calculated, which can be associated to the considerable decrease, by 9.5%, of raw material costs. The latter fully compensates the increases to other process costs, and mainly to chemical additives which increased by 8%. The overall analysis allows quantification of the process parameters and costs that are affected when the percentage of recycled gypsum incorporated in plasterboard production is significantly increased. The results and the methodology proposed in the study can serve as a basis for a representative cost impact assessment of high-percentage recycled gypsum incorporation in any typical plasterboard production line plant. The methodology can serve as a guideline for techno-economic assessment of industrial production lines where the input datasets originate from different plants and can be characterized as “non-homogeneous” due to case-specific differences.

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The authors are grateful to the E.U. for financial support through the GtoG Project (LIFE11 ENV/BE/001039) and to the industrial partners of GtoG for the provision of technical and operational data from the production trials.

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Correspondence to N. Papailiopoulou.

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Papailiopoulou, N., Grigoropoulou, H. & Founti, M. Techno-economic impact assessment of recycled gypsum usage in plasterboard manufacturing. Jnl Remanufactur 9, 141–167 (2019).

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  • Recycled gypsum
  • Plasterboard manufacturing process
  • Techno-economic impact
  • Plasterboard manufacturing costs