UK: Total Azalt Eco2 reduced temperature asphalt

The latest additions to Total’s Ecosolutions range are Azalt ECO2 ready to use reduced temperature binders. The product is available in the full range of bitumen grades used in the UK and extends to the Total Styrelf PMB range in the form of Styrelf ECO2.

These binders enable asphalt producers to reduce mixing temperatures by as much as 40C without any modifications to existing plant infrastructure. Work initially undertaken in France on trial sites at Blois and Rennes was then continued and trialed with clients in the UK.

The trials proved the product offered comparable performance to conventional hot mixed asphalt in terms of ease of compaction, deformation resistance and water sensitivity testing. Work undertaken with Azalt ECO2 so far has also included levels of recycled asphalt (RA) comparable to control hot mix sections with equivalent performance demonstrated.

Reduced temperature asphalt manufacturing often requires the modification of conventional asphalt plants. 

This is typically to incorporate bitumen foaming requiring a capital investment in excess of £250K to install systems for metering and adding water then dealing with the steam evacuation. Rick Ashton Market Development Manager with Total Bitumen comments “With Azalt ECO2 bitumen all these complications are removed as the binder is pre blended with special additives in the UK for application through conventional mixing process simply at reduced temperature.”

Asphalt mixed at lower temperature offers several advantages. The obvious one is reduced energy in the mixing process itself giving a saving in fuel and CO2 emissions. A temperature reduction of 40C can give an energy saving of up to 35% at the asphalt plants dryer (dependent on the existing plants set up.) Overall emissions can be reduced by up to 47% with carbon dioxide emissions reduced by circa 30%.

But the immediate environmental benefits only add value to the engineering gains achieved with reduced temperature asphalt. Mixing asphalt forty degrees cooler allows surfacing teams a greater opportunity to install more product for a given time on site. This characteristic can be beneficial when surfacing is undertaken under restricted hours. When a contractor has a shorter window of time for installation of the asphalt the time required for layers to cool sufficiently to allow trafficking is critical to the amount of work achievable in a shift.

In the case of Azalt ECO2 starting laying asphalt at 120C rather than 160C allows contractors to optimise their time on site, potentially reducing contract duration which is commercially astute and reduces disruption to the general public.

Reducing installation temperature also reduces visible steam emissions generated on site.

This is particularly beneficial for traffic management during urban contra flow arrangements.  Traffic often has to pass within meters of live asphalt surfacing works.  Drivers passing works undertaken with Azalt ECO2 do not have to deal with reduced visibility through steam from the paving and rolling operations giving significant health and safety advantages over hot mix asphalt.

Azalt ECO2 is stored in bitumen tanks at normal penetration grade bitumen temperature. The product is not affected by mixing at conventional hot mix temperatures if required. This means producers can tailor mixing temperature to climatic conditions and haulage requirements accommodating sites with excessive manual laying and when delivering to more distant locations. This characteristic gives great operational flexibility to producers who may need to supply different customers with hot mix and reduced temperature materials throughout the working day.

The need for expensive plant modification, disruption to operational production scheduling and the need to pay royalties to additive suppliers are removed by the use of Azalt ECO2.

The take up of the product and the market share of reduced temperature asphalt will only increase as clients see the benefits of the technology and specifiers become aware of the potential these products offer. The use of reduced temperature asphalt in the USA now exceeds 25% of the asphalt volume there and is increasing due to the added benefits the technology brings. The future looks cool for asphalt!

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