The companies Peab Asfalt and Sekab have reached a milestone by replacing a fraction of the oil-based bitumen with softwood lignin on a highly busy road area in Sweden. The progress has been made under the EU project Rewofuel.
The Rewofuel project is starting the first attempts to lay asphalt with lignin on a road with around 8000-10 000 cars passing each day. Lignin is the wood’s natural binder and when it replaces the oil-based bitumen, both technical and environmental benefits are achieved.
Peab Asfalt, one of the eleven partners within the EU industrial development project Rewofuel has performed the first field trial by adding softwood hydrolysate lignin produced by Sekab in Örnsköldsvik in their asphalt production. The Rewofuel project aims at developing various bio-based products from forestry residues such as, high performances drop-in renewable gasoline and jetfuel, lignin based products and animal feed.
The project has been going on for over two years. Sekab has produced sugar and lignin based on their CelluAPP technology platform applied in the Biorefinery Demo Plant, in Örnsköldsvik. Sekab has optimized the product stream to meet required specification for downstream project partners and produced sugar and lignin in ton scale.
Peab Asfalt has carried out a large number of laboratory tests that show positive results. Peab Asfalt and Sekab have worked intensively to optimize and find a lignin quality that could be added in a field trial.
Monica Normark, responsible for the Rewofuel project within Sekab, says: – Lignin provides environmental benefits, such as increased circularity and reduced climate impact when we replace an oil-based raw material with a bio-based residual product. That we now have the opportunity to perform full-scale field experiments on roads is an important and required step.
Peab Asfalt and Sekab will continue the work with lignin blended asphalt and cover new test areas during the project. The Rewofuel project will during autumn invite to a webinar with Peab Asfalt and Sekab on the topic of environmental improved asphalt using lignin.
REWOFUEL goal is to demonstrate the performances, reliability, environmental and socio-economic sustainability of the entire value chain, for the transformation of residual soft-wood into hydrolysate (RWH), conversion of RWH into bio-Isobutene (bio-IBN) by fermentation and further conversion to biofuels. To achieve these goals a team of 11 partners, leaders in their field, originating from 7 EU-member states, will join efforts. The project was selected under the name REWOFUEL (N°792104), in the frame of the European HORIZON 2020 programme for research and innovation, following a very selective and competitive process led by independent experts.
The programme covers a total budget of €19.7 million. Non-refundable grants totalling €13.9 million will be provided by the EU, with the remainder being contributed by the participants. More information can be found at www.rewofuel.eu
SEKAB is a Swedish chemical and Cleantech company. We process ethanol into biofuels and chemicals. We are developing technology for new product opportunities based on cellulose raw materials. We want to help reduce dependence on fossil raw materials and fuels.
PEAB is one of the leading Nordic construction and civil engineering companies with more than 16 000 employees and net sales of SEK 55 billion. Peab Asfalt AB, part of PEAB, has laboratory and demo facilities and cooperates with its suppliers, in the development and testing of new components”.
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