Tarmac has announced that it is phasing out traditional hot mix asphalt for highways projects after 120 years.
The firm described the move as the most significant sustainable improvement to its range of asphalt mixtures since founder Edgar Hooley first patented traditional hot mix asphalt in 1902.
It is set to move its production to warm mix asphalt, saving 13,500 tonnes of CO2 each year. From 1 July, 40 of Tarmac’s asphalt plants across the UK will default to warm mix for all lower layer materials.
Technical director Brian Kent, said: ‘While warm mix technology has been widely available to our customers over the past five years, against the backdrop of the climate emergency, we are now proactively switching our plants to offer this low carbon material as our standard and preferred option.
‘This is a significant sustainability-focussed improvement on Edgar Hooley’s original process, but it embraces the innovative spirit of our founder which remains at the heart of our business along with our clear commitment to help the UK transition to net zero.’
Tarmac pointed out that the All Party Parliamentary Group on Highways has argued that if the UK embraced low temperature manufacture for asphalt production it would cut at least 61,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
It said warm mix asphalt technology has the potential to reduce the embodied carbon of asphalt by up to 15% compared to hot mixes, by using less energy.
The lower temperature material also enables road projects to be delivered faster. The cooler asphalt takes less time to reach trafficking temperature, which means roads can be opened up to 90 minutes earlier to traffic.