UK study paves the way for low temperature asphalt

By Chris Sleight27 January 2014

A study by the Carbon Trust and Lafarge Tarmac has found the use of low temperature asphalt (LTA) could save the UK road industry UK£46.2 million (€56.2 million) over ten years. Low temperature asphalts comprise cold mix, semi-warm mix and warm mix specifications, which are produced at temperatures from 60°C to 130°C, compared to 1800C to 1900C for hot mixes.

According to the study LTA bonds road materials as effectively as the conventional method, but using lower temperatures and less energy. It is claimed this could cut carbon emissions by up to 39%. The trail has led to the development of LTA specifications.

Al-Karim Govindji, Technology Acceleration Manager, the Carbon Trust, an independent company with the aim to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low carbon economy said, “There is tremendous potential for this project. This programme is an example of how by establishing new models of working, we can unblock demand-supply stand-offs, to help the UK to deliver the infrastructure of the future, at a lower cost for taxpayers and the climate.”

Martin Riley, Managing Director for Lafarge Tarmac’s asphalt and aggregates business, added, “This project with the Carbon Trust will help unlock barriers to bring lower temperature asphalt into wider use, cutting energy use, reducing CO2 emissions and enabling us to deliver projects more quickly for clients. It will take time for these materials to become available, but as producers follow our lead and adopt this technology, there will be a growing movement to embrace LTAs as direct replacements for conventional hot asphalts.”

According to the two companies, if the new specification is adopted and low temperature asphalt market achieves 21% of the total UK asphalt market over the next decade, it could save UK£46.2 million (€56.2 million) and around 260,000 tonnes of CO2during the manufacturing of these materials over the next 10 years.

Other project partners include Nynas UK, Atkins, MIRO and Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). A new specification, open to all manufacturers, was published by TRL in October as part of the project.

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