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On Thursday 7 October, the construction of a unique road was started on the Klutsdorpseweg in Lepelstraat. This is the first test section within the CHAPLIN TKI project that is being laid with a mixture in which 30% of the fossil bitumen is replaced by vegetable lignin in combination with 30% recycled asphalt. Among the road authorities, the municipality of Bergen op Zoom is one of the frontrunners that is making it possible to gain experience and knowledge in the production and processing of this innovative bio-based asphalt. As in previous test sections, the aim is to be able to use it on a larger scale in the future and thus contribute to the greening of road construction.
Bergen op Zoom

Meanwhile, 25 test strips of different lignin-based asphalt compositions and for different road uses are being monitored. The oldest dates back to 2015. Test strips like the one in Lepelstraat make it possible to expand experience and knowledge in the production and processing of this asphalt. In addition, tests are being carried out on working conditions and environmental aspects. Life cycle analyses must map the environmental performance and climate gains over the entire chain in order to contribute to its scaling up. These are components of the CHAPLIN TKI (TBBE119007) project, which has been made possible by a grant from RVO (Netherlands Government Office for Entrepreneurship). Dr.ing. Richard Gosselink, coordinator CHAPLIN TKI and biorefinery and lignin expert, of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WFBR): “At the end of 2021, we will complete the TKI project and we will be able to publish the results. So far, the results are very encouraging. It looks like we have a climate-friendly alternative to traditional asphalt in our hands that performs at least as well in terms of lifespan and load and weather resistance.”

 

Lepelstraat 2

Asphalt that stores CO2

Lignin is a substance that is a natural binder and provides strength, as it does in plants and trees. It is released as a residual flow during the production of pulp and cellulose, among other things. When lignin is created, during the growth of plants and trees, carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and, once processed into asphalt, is fixed in the road for a long time. An additional advantage is that lignin offers road builders an alternative raw material for (fossil) bitumen. The quality and availability of the residual product bitumen is coming under increasing pressure due to improvements in petroleum refining processes.

Lignin is a substance that is a natural binder and provides strength, as it does in plants and trees. It is released as a residual flow during the production of pulp and cellulose, among other things. When lignin is created, during the growth of plants and trees, carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and, once processed into asphalt, is fixed in the road for a long time. An additional advantage is that lignin offers road builders an alternative raw material for (fossil) bitumen. The quality and availability of the residual product bitumen is coming under increasing pressure due to improvements in petroleum refining processes.

 

Chain-wide cooperation

The fact that the Netherlands is leading the way in making road construction more sustainable is partly thanks to the unique cooperation of partners along the entire value chain. Companies (road builders, asphalt producers and lignin suppliers) supported by research and technology parties. Rijkswaterstaat, provinces and municipalities are heavily involved as road authorities.

Joop Groen, initiator and programme leader of the Circular Biobased Delta foundation (based in Bergen op Zoom): “Wageningen Food and Biobased Research (WFBR), Asphalt Knowledge Centre (AKC), Circular Biobased Delta (CBBD), Utrecht University, TNO, Avantium, NTP, Latexfalt, Vertoro, Dura Vermeer and H4A are involved in this specific TKI project. However, it gives a boost to the cooperation within the entire CHAPLIN consortium, also with the other partners. It gives an impetus to the development of biobased asphalt and we are already going to reduce CO2 directly in the test phase.”