Bioasphalt for roads in Zeeland is being developed by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, the Asfalt Kennis Centrum (Asphalt Knowledge Centre, AKC) and the company H4A from Sluiskil (NL). Zeeland Seaports is a project partner with interest in potential applications for the asphalt.
Lignin from plants in asphalt
Fossil bitumen – the main ‘glue’ in asphalt roads – is replaced by the biobased adhesive lignin in this bioasphalt. Lignin is a natural adhesive material which gives structure to all kinds of plants and trees and is, for example, an important component of straw. The first specimens of asphalt concrete based on lignin were recently created and the involved partners are busy testing and optimising its properties.
Benefits for the environment and noise levels
Lignin can replace fossil bitumen (currently made from petroleum in a process which releases a great deal of CO2), substantially reducing the environmental footprint of asphalt. It is also expected to improve functional properties of the asphalt, such as rolling resistance, and to make roads quieter. Various governments and companies have already shown a lot of interest in this promising development.