TKI-project CHAPLIN (Collaboration in aspHalt APplications with LIgniN)

Different types of lignin produced in the Netherlands will be tested as an asphalt binder. Demo lignin roads throughout the Netherlands which are built in previous years and during the project will be monitored in the use phase. Also research is being carried out into how lignin asphalt can be reused.


The Netherlands is producing and maintaining high quality roads. To maintain this road network, asphalt and its asphalt binder quality (bitumen) should keep its high performance level and should meet strong environmental criteria. In that respect bitumen as residue of an oil refinery is of fossil origin and this by-product is facing decreasing production volumes, due to the closure of bitumen producing refineries and variable qualities as a higher share of light products is extracted from the bitumen fraction. To address these recent changes in bitumen quality and to prepare for the future, there is a need for renewable binder suited for asphalt applications. Lignin, a binder in lignocellulosic biomass, and extracted in high volumes as a by-product of pulp and cellulosic ethanol production, may serve as bio-based alternative to bitumen. Lignin has been researched for some years, but detailed analyses on its production, binder behavior, outdoor performance in the user phase, recycling options, techno-economic and life cycle assessment is limited.

Project aim

The aim of this project CHAPLIN TKI is to evaluate lignin, which is produced in The Netherlands, in asphalt applications and monitor current and novel test roads of selected lignins.

CHAPLIN TKI will generate data on the availability of locally and Internationally sourced lignins and study its suitability as binder in hot mixed asphalt. The program line of TKI-BBEG ‘Thermochemical and Catalytic conversion technologies’ has the potential to contribute substantially to the goal of CO2 reduction. The use of biomass in large scale industrial applications, such as asphalt, do support such an effort. CHAPLIN TKI perfectly suits this goal since its using lignin as a partial binder in asphalt and this application creates a carbon sink for decades and the used lignin will not be burned as is the case today. This offers sustainable solutions for the future.

Expected outcome

CHAPLIN TKI will deliver results on the technical, including recycling, economic and environmental performance of lignin based asphalt from existing demonstration roads and novel demonstration roads. The influence of the Dutch climate (e.g. UV radiation, water/dryness cycles, and frost-dew cycles) on the top layers of demonstration roads, in which several types of lignin have been used, will be monitored by a sufficient monitoring plan. Next to that, CHAPLIN TKI will generate knowledge on the use of lignins, which areproduced in the Netherlands, in this asphalt application.

Results of CHAPLIN TKI will form the basis for implementation of lignin as a binder for asphalt application at the asphalt mills in the Netherlands and other countries.