Shell has released a new bitumen product that it claims can help reduce the impact of asphalt production on air quality.
Developed at their research and development centre in Bangalore, India, Shell Bitumen FreshAir consists of bitumen that acts directly with the chemical compounds that affect air quality, which it says helps reduce emissions of PM10 from asphalt mixtures during production and paving by an average of 40% when compared to conventional bitumen.
This chemical reaction takes place at a molecular level, helping to cut specific gases and particulates or minimise the release into the air during production and paving, reducing the impact on local air quality.
Around 20 million tonnes of standard asphalt, which is made using the fossil fuel bitumen as a binding agent, is produced each year in the UK.
‘Road infrastructure is essential to modern living but urbanisation and denser transport and industrial activity have resulted in worsening levels of local air quality,’ said Jason Wong, Vice President of Shell Global Bitumen and Sulphur.
‘The need for cleaner construction and transport infrastructure requires every industry to do its part in developing cleaner ways of working,’ he added.
The technology has been externally monitored in field trials in cities in France, the Netherlands, Thailand and the UK and will be available in a number of countries from this year on.
In related news, Coventry City Council will resurface more of its roads with recycled plastic pellets and rubber crumbs that have come from old vehicle tyres, following a successful pilot scheme.