The Eco Sustainable Rail project (Portugal 2020), with an eligible cost of € 1,317,809.57 and FEDER financing of € 845,477.90, aims at reusing plastic waste, with a great potential for transformation, but due to the volumes produced and environmental problems that entail, they need a transformation chain that provides them with a new life cycle. Also, this project answered the necessity of finding an alternative material to wood, due to the biocide (creosote) prohibition from the European Commission directive.

This project aims to explore the possibility of producing a new product, with high technical requirements and specific characteristics, made from a mixture of plastics from the mixed plastics sector. It is intended to act on the valorization of this residue, to produce a product of high technical value – the sleepers for railway lines. The final objective will be the development of eco-sustainable railroad sleepers (in prototype phase), which will be tested in a real operating scenario at Infrastructures of Portugal (IP).

Project Goals

  • Research and development of a new material mainly of mixed plastics;
  • Study of the crosspiece geometry (product specification) that allows to answer functional
    questions of assembly, damping and vibrations;
  • Investigation of a new production process that meets the requirements defined for this
    type of production;
  • Evaluation of the life cycle and cost analysis, as well as the environmental evaluation of
    the sleepers tested in a real scenario;
  • Testing the sleepers in a real operating situation.


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