Net Zero Asphalt Surfacing

With new innovative technology, it may be possible to meet the UK asphalt industry's 2040 net-zero carbon target. An important step in this direction is a notable road project in which Nynas has played a crucial role.

On 11 October, industry representatives will gather at the Park Plaza in London to highlight and reward the companies, products, and projects selected as finalists in the twentieth edition of the Highways Awards.

One of the finalists is the international engineering and project-management consultancy AtkinsRéalis, with the project titled “Net Zero Asphalt Surfacing – Innovative Bio-Binder Trials on the Strategic Road Network."

However, AtkinsRéalis' nomination is not limited to just one category but two: the Environmental Sustainability Award and the Highway Partnership Award. In both cases, it concerns the same project, specifically the resurfacing of a stretch on the A30 near Exeter in the southwest of England.

What makes the pavement trialed on the A30 unique is that it is an innovative lower carbon asphalt that incorporates polymer-modified bitumen containing biogenic material.

In addition to AtkinsRéalis, Heidelberg Materials (formerly Hanson), National Highways, Nynas, Shell, and the University of Nottingham are all part of the nominated project team. This clearly demonstrates that collaboration among different stakeholders is a key factor in reducing the industry's climate impact.

Nynas' contribution has been to supply a polymer-modified bitumen, Nypol RE, containing biogenic material. Besides the extended service life of the pavement due to the polymer modification, Nypol RE offers a substantially reduced carbon footprint compared to an equivalent conventional PMB.

In the next step, National Highways, responsible for operating, maintaining, and improving motorways and major A roads in England, will closely monitor the asphalts performance and assess the results based on the extensive laboratory tests to be conducted by the University of Nottingham.

The promising results already associated with the biogenic PMB containing asphalt on the A30 have also led to the project being among the finalists when The Highways UK Excellence Awards 2023 take place on October 18th in Birmingham.

In this case, it pertains to the Innovation Award category and AtkinsRéalis' efforts to develop a Net Zero Surfacing by utilizing a lower carbon asphalt incorporating a polymer modified bitumen containing biogenic material, in collaboration with Nynas and other partners.

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