Headwaters to integrate fly ash-based CalStar process into Block Group

Sources: Headwaters Inc., South Jordan, Utah; CP staff

Headwaters has acquired the fly ash-centered technology of recently liquidated brick, paver and masonry trim operator CalStar Products. The intellectual property will be integrated into the Block Group, with concrete masonry production and distribution in Texas and Louisiana, through Headwaters Construction Materials, the leader in ASTM C618 fly ash processing and marketing.

Over the past decade, CalStar Products developed proprietary, Class C fly ash-activating reagents, coupled with mix designs and curing methods, to yield concrete products free of portland cement. The technology enabled an offering of specification-grade products with high recycled material factor—up to 40 percent post-industrial content—as the green building movement and LEED certification took hold in commercial and residential construction. After building a Wisconsin pilot line in 2010, and a 100,000-sq.-ft. operation in Mississippi four years later, CalStar investors abandoned their business plan in January, auctioning off intellectual property and plant equipment.

Headwaters intends to market smooth, ground face, polished, split faced and textured masonry block in regular or oversized units and custom colors. Current high profile projects bearing CalStar specs include the American University Law School in Washington D.C. The products’ value to green building practitioners could equate to a shipping radius of 1,500-plus miles from east Texas plants.

“CalStar technology, in conjunction with our eighteen at a time big board machine, should provide us with an opportunity to expand margins and supply the building community with a unique masonry product,” says Block Group President Bob Whisnant, who is eyeing CalStar unit molding towards the summer season.