Infrastructure company Roelofs from Den Ham (Overijssel) started on 2 June with the construction of a test road made of bio-asphalt made with Dutch lignin. The 250 meter long test section is located on the provincial road N987 between Siddeburen and Wagenborgen. It is the first time in the world that a lignin-based road is being built. The material is produced by Avantium, a technology company in renewable chemistry. The fully vegetable lignin is used as a replacement for bitumen in asphalt, which is extracted from crude oil.
The test road is being constructed in collaboration with the province of Groningen. The trial is part of the CHAPLIN XL project, a collaboration of industrial and academic parties that aims to demonstrate that lignin works effectively as a replacement for bitumen and reduces CO2 emissions in road construction. The construction of the test street fits in well with the ambition of the province of Groningen to apply new techniques where possible. In addition, it is a good example for us of how the market and government are committed to innovation and a sustainable future.
Avantium develops technologies for the production of plant-based chemicals and materials. In the DAWN biorefinery in Delfzijl, Avantium converts woody raw materials into industrial sugars and lignin. Lignin can be used to generate energy, but can also be used for bio-asphalt. In total, approximately 1.000 kg of Avantium lignin was added to the asphalt to replace part of the bitumen for the production of the top layer of the test section on the N987. The DAWN biorefinery was partly made possible with a financial contribution from the province of Groningen.
CHAPLIN XL’s asphalt producing partners have improved the bio-asphalt production process in traditional asphalt plants, enabling more lignin-based asphalt to be produced. Avantium works closely with contractor Roelofs from Den Ham in Overijssel, that has the ambition to switch to bio-asphalt. Roelofs will also construct a second test section on the N987.
The partners in CHAPLIN XL will test the lignin-based asphalt for performance, technical and economic feasibility and for environmental benefits. The first results indicate that asphalt based on lignin provides a significant saving of CO2 compared to regular asphalt. From road builders worldwide there is a lot of interest in the test results.
Provincial Executive IJzebrand Rijzebol thinks it is great that the innovative test road is being built close to the Eemshaven and Chemiepark Delfzijl. The production of the asphalt also takes place in Groningen, at APW (Asphalt Production Westerbroek) in Westerbroek. The Chemport Europe network in the Northern Netherlands is known as a frontrunner in the field of green chemistry and in reducing CO2 emissions. The construction of the test road fits in well with these ambitions.