The group of prof. Norberto Roveri, University of Bologna, has once again realized a very important discovery: the development of a transformation process of asbestos cement materials based on the denaturation of asbestos fibers with milk whey.

The innovative process of prof. Roveri’s group is based on the fact that milk whey, a waste product of dairy industry, has a sufficiently acid Ph in order to decompose at room temperature the cement phase of asbestos cement consisting of calcium carbonate (85 %), setting the embedded asbestos fibers free (15 %). In a second phase of the process, the asbestos fibers may be denatured and decomposed into magnesium and silicate ions using a hydrothermal treatment at 150° C and 2 bar pressure, releasing all the metal ions in solution (such as Ni, Mn, Fe, Cr ) incorporated in the fibers and recoverable by electrochemical way; on the bottom of the reactor used in this second phase, a body containing phosphates, silicates and dead bacteria will settle itself, body which could be then marketed as fertilizer.