Zeolite minerals are found in abundance in nature. They have been present on our earth for millions of years. You must wonder that how? When volcanic ash is exposed to high temperatures and pressure, zeolite mineral are produced. This is why they are found in an adequate amount. The problem is that there must be proper equipment and technology to extract this mineral and put it to use in different real world applications.
The physical structure of zeolites is what makes these minerals so amazing. They are porous and honeycomb like in their physical properties. Which gives them an amazing absorption properties. They can absorb more than 50% of their weight. Its chemical structure consists of Silicate tetrahedrite bonded via oxygen atoms. The atoms of silicon are replaced by the Aluminum and this what gives zeolites their specific porous structure. The volume of these porous structures is from 24 to 32%.
The first time zeolites were used was in 1950’s when it’s certain chemical properties were discovered and analyzed and it was concluded that it can be very useful. At that time, Zeocem realized it’s potential and owned all the major mining sites of zeolites. The main site of extraction is in Slovakia, where zeolites can be extracted in their purest form.
Zeocem started as a cement making company in 1949. At the start, the plant was designed to produce 150,000 tons of clinker and 180,000 tons of cement. This target was achieved by 1956. With the increased demand of construction material in that era, due to several development projects Zeocem had to increase their production and by 1975, Zeocem was already producing 360,000 tons of cement, which is twice the initial design capacity.
Later in 1997, the production of clinker almost stopped and by 1999 there was a complete halt in the production of clinker. Then the ownership of Zeocem changed and they decided to use natural zeolite in the real world applications along with the cement. The company transitioned from cement production to zeolites production and making possible many practical applications of it.
By now, Zeocem has done a lot of research and development of zeolite and they have been successful in introducing zeolites in a lot of real world applications. Along with its use in cement, zeolite is used in water filtration, cat litter box, industrial exhausts and many other agricultural and domestic applications.