The use of lignin as bio-binder in asphalt applications

Besamusca, Jeroen; Landa, Paul; Zoetemeyer, Rop; Gosselink, R.J.A.; Lommers, Bram; Junginger, Martin; Verschuren, Martijn


Several investigations have shown interest in the use of durable material for road constructions, including bio-based oil, The introduction of lignin in asphalt applications opens the door for a new bio-binder in infrastructure. With a 50/50 blend of bitumen and lignin, the laboratory tests revealed equal performance with regular asphalt. Several trials started already all in top-layer applications and including a test at the harbour of Antwerp for heavy-duty performance. The total amount of bitumen used worldwide is estimated on 70 million ton annually. The current amount of lignin produced worldwide is probably 50 million ton and will increase. The advantage of using lignin is the positive impact on our environment. Lignin is a natural resource released during the production of pulp in the paper industry. It is an extensive waste stream, which is mainly used for energy production. Paper is formed on the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and therefore binding carbon in a positive way. The waste of pulp production is not a production as such; it is a left over from the use of bio- material. By using the lignin in road constructions, the bound carbon will stay captured. The use of lignin contributes to lower emission because of the lower production temperature of asphalt production. Predictions show that bitumen-producing refineries will decrease resulting in a lack of supply for infrastructure. Recycling and use of durable material will be the answer for our children and their future.