Sustainable Fibres from Basalt Mining

image of GREENBAS

The GREENBAS project is about the feasibility of producing continuous basalt fibres from Icelandic basalt. The project was made possible with support from NordMin, with the aim to develop the Nordic mining and mineral industry.Geological investigations by Iceland Geosurvey have resulted in insight into locations of the most ideal materials. Work at Innovation Centre Iceland (ICI) led to the definition of the basalt properties required. ICI also analysed the business conditions for a start-up factory. The involvement of JEI has ensured industrial relevance in tandem with the contribution of the University of Reykjavik team in gaining an understanding of the importance of applications in building materials.The involvement of SINTEF Norway and VTT Finland was crucial. They provided their expertise to analyse the life-cycle of basalt fibres and the feasibility and need of artificial external components. On basis of this project, a new phase can be started: the preparations for establishing a continuous basal fibre factory in Iceland.



Iceland Geosurvey – ISOR

Iceland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, and represents an island overlying a lower density mantle plume (hotspot) and lies also astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where rifting is taking place at a rate of about 1 cm/yr on average. The crust is therefore a mixture of an oceanic and a hotspot type. The basalt types range from tholeiitic to alkalic compositions, which are controlled by localized rifting conditions. Although basalt is far the most dominant rock composition, intermediate to acidic rock types are found within central volcanic complexes. The distribution is, however, bimodal with maxima at basalt (~90%) and rhyolite (~8%) and minima at intermediate compositions (~2% andesite). In terms of this project it implies that rocks which surpass 50% SiO2 become rare until reaching near rhyolite compositions. Volcanic rocks which are found within continental regions and subduction zones do contain similar compositions. However, these often follow a more alkalic geochemical trend and a greater abundance of rocks of intermediate composition than found in Iceland.


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