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Carbon-capture asphalt trialled on the A30

Laying the biogenic PMB

Hanson Contracting used the low carbon asphalt to resurface the A30 Cutteridge to Alphington eastbound scheme near Exeter in Devon.

The work is being carried out as part of its pavement category management framework agreement with National Highways.

It is the first time Hanson has trialled its CarbonLock asphalt containing polymer modified bitumen (PMB) bio-binders on the strategic road network.

Two trials are being carried out. The first trial includes Nynas’s biogenic binder Nypol RE; the second trial uses the same asphalt mixture but includes Shell’s new bio-component binder Cariphalte CarbonSink.

Both asphalts were produced at Hanson’s Hingston Down plant near Gunnislake and laid over the first two weekends in February. Each trial comprised a 40mm thickness surface course with 53 PSV aggregates for approximately 500 metres of both lanes of the eastbound carriageway.

According to advocates, natural biogenic material absorbs and stores CO2, which is then ‘locked’ into the bio-component binders (bio-binders) and not released back into the atmosphere, even when the asphalt is recycled. In addition, the PMB binder used in both trials is expected to improve durability and extend the life of the asphalt.

Adrian Hadley, technical head (asphalt and aggregate) at Hanson UK, said: “We are committed to working with our clients to help them meet their net zero objectives and these trials are an excellent example of this.”

The work was coordinated by consulting engineer Atkins as part of the National Highways research project Future Asphalt Surface Course Linking to NH Net Zero under SPaTS 2. The performance of the two trial sections will be monitored to see how they compare with ‘standard’ PMB asphalt used elsewhere on the project.

An assessor from the British Board of Agrément (BBA) observed the asphalt being laid, and the material is now undergoing a programme of in-house testing and monitoring with the intention of it being included within Hanson’s BBA HAPAS certified products.

National Highways senior pavement advisor Umesh Parajuli said: “These trials are part of our feasibility study and whole-life benefits analysis of emerging low carbon technologies, which will help us meet our 2040 net zero carbon deadline for construction and maintenance activities.

“National Highways, in partnership with Atkins, will monitor the performance of both sections and use the results of extensive laboratory testing carried out at Nottingham University to review whole-life carbon reduction with asphalt surfacing.

“We hope this trial containing PMB bio-binders will help to bring innovative technology into our specification.”

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