THIOMATERIALS elected as first Cleantech Hero Circular Economy 2021!

Posted on 25 Jun 2021

TTHIOMATERIALS elected as first Cleantech Hero Circular Economy 2021!

Flanders has a new Cleantech Hero. For a jury of experts, the company THIOMATERIALS, part of De Bonte Group, is the first Cleantech Hero Circular Economy. THIOMATERIALS specialises in the development of railway sleepers and sewage pipes from 100% circular sulphur concrete.
"This project has a lot of potential and has a big impact, especially on climate. A lot of concrete is needed and sulphur concrete not only avoids the production of conventional cement, but also the mining of new raw materials at the end of its life cycle." This critical argument convinced the jury to elect THIOMATERIALS as the first Cleantech Hero Circular Economy. For the jury, the five finalists were very evenly matched and the four other laureates are also good examples of cleantech companies.

More and more companies and organisations are responding to the demand for sustainability. In order to make their innovative cleantech solutions more widely known, Cleantech Flanders is presenting the Cleantech Hero award for the first time this year. In 2021, an organisation that develops innovative cleantech solutions from a different cleantech domain will be rewarded with the prestigious Cleantech Hero label. In the first Cleantech Hero Water Technology,  BOSAQ was elected as the first Cleantech Hero Watertechnology 2021. 
For the second Cleantech Hero 2021 award, Cleantech Flanders looked for a cleantech company that excels in circular economy. 

About the laureates

The jury for this Cleantech Flanders Hero Circular Economy were Claire Tillekaerts (FIT), Dirk Fransaer (VITO), Brigitte Mouligneau (Flanders Circular), Dries Vanneste (Agoria) and Frans Snijkers (Cleantech Flanders). After an initial selection, five finalists emerged: Circular Matters, Nuresys, Orineo, Resus and THIOMATERIALS. In the end, the jury decided that THIOMATERIALS is the perfect ambassador for Cleantech Flanders' circular economy.
The jury was impressed by the level of the candidates. They were judged on the relevance of the innovations, the TRL level, the impact in Flanders and the international ambitions of the company, the extent to which the company can act as an ambassador for Flemish cleantech, the implementation of the SDGs and the cooperation with all the links of the quadruple helix.
"We had to conclude that our five laureates scored very highly on many points," the jury stated. After deliberation, the jury elected THIOMATERIALS.
 Companies winning the 2021 award in their theme will have a foot for: they wear the label for a year, but they can also present their innovation at G-STIC 2022 and receive promotional support through Cleantech Flanders channels. In addition, the winner can present his/her company in a 2-minute company movie that can be used for promotional purposes.


THIOMATERIALS pioneered railway sleepers and sewage pipes from 100% circular sulphurous concrete. In sulphur concrete, cement and water as binding agents are replaced by sulphur that is completely circular. This eliminates the traditional heavy CO2 emissions from cement and also avoids the use of precious water. The production is based on the physical process of melting and solidifying sulphur. Because this process can be repeated endlessly, the sulphur concrete can be reused endlessly as a primary raw material. This allows network operators to fully embrace circularity. 
When using sulphurous concrete, CO2 emissions are reduced by approximately 40% to 80% compared to similar products made from traditional concrete, synthetic materials or ceramics.

Thanks to the circular properties of sulphuric concrete, there are no secondary waste flows and both pipes and sleepers can be completely reworked into identical products without any loss of quality. Trial projects at Aquafin, Infrabel, De Lijn, SNCF and NS were successful and resulted in accreditations and quality marks. By using this sulphur concrete, Infrabel, for example, will reduce its CO2 emissions by 6,000 tonnes through the already planned replacement of 200,000 railway sleepers with THIOTRACK sleepers made from sulphur concrete.

Who will be the next Cleantech Hero?

Cleantech Flanders is looking for the third Cleantech Hero 2021 Energy!
Applications are welcome from the 1st of September till the 31st of October at

Thio MaterialsGroup de Bonte


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