The first major UK trial of a new asphalt made partly from recycled waste tyres has been successfully completed on behalf of Transport Scotland by Breedon Aggregates.
Late last month a short stretch of the A90 dual carriageway between Perth and Dundee was resurfaced with the revolutionary material and a recently-completed ‘grip test’ on the new surface has now confirmed its viability.
This stretch of road is one of the busiest in Scotland, carrying around 35,000 vehicles a day.
Over the next few months the material will be closely monitored against a number of key performance criteria including skid resistance.
Unlike previous attempts at using rubber in asphalt, which usually involved trying to melt the rubber completely before mixing it with stone and bitumen,Breedon Aggregates has secured access to new technology from Danish company Genan which enables it to incorporate rubber particles directly into the binding agent.
“This could transform our approach to road surfacing in the UK,” said Alan Mackenzie, chief executive of Breedon Aggregates Scotland.
“Our industry has been trying for years to successfully incorporate recycled rubber into asphalt, without much success. Thanks to this new technology, which we are partnering with Genan to promote in the UK, we can help change that.”
Since 2006, EU rules have banned the disposal of tyres to landfill, leaving large quantities of shredded rubber to find alternative uses in various forms of recycling.
“We’re bringing to market an asphalt which is more economical and environmentally friendly than any comparable product currently available,” added Mr Mackenzie.
“We’ll be drawing on a readily-available recycled raw material, reducing the proportion of expensive stone and bitumen in the mix and cutting the amount of gases and fumes produced, so it’s an all-round win for us and for our customers.”
Transport Scotland (TS) commented: “We are pleased that industry has identified this opportunity and developed an alternative surfacing material for use on the trunk road network.
"This adopts a sustainable approach in making the best use of resources available, by re-using an abundant waste material and thereby reducing the use of oil-based bitumen products.
"TS will continue to work collaboratively with the industry under the auspices of the TS Pavement Forum and we look forward to the continued success of this initial trial.”
Following the success of the trial in Scotland, Breedon Aggregates will now begin to market the new material, to be called Breedon Polymer R+, from its 18 asphalt plants throughout Scotland and England.