Toward a sustainable 100% recycling of reclaimed asphalt in road pavements

Project Summary:

To save natural resources it is essential to recycle used construction materials to be reused in new constructions. In the case of road construction, the majority of European roads are paved with asphalt material. The dismantling and end of life strategies for these pavements is common practice in many European countries but are very divergent among the European member states and the associated countries relating to the amount of reclaimed asphalt (RA) reused in new pavement layers. In general the share of recycling the RA in new asphalt courses is rather lower than it could be technically. However, the complete reuse of the reclaimed construction materials requires a precise assessment of the properties of the virgin, aged and mixed materials.

AllBack2Pave is a two-year CEDR Transnational Road Research project that will evaluate the feasibility of going towards 100% recycling of asphalt pavements into surface courses. Led by the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany, together with the University of Nottingham in the UK and University of Palermo in Italy, the project started in November 2013. To facilitate the deployment of lean concepts and lean production practices, the investigation will be implemented in close collaboration with the private sector, including asphalt mixing plants, chemical additives producers and waste material managers.

The main objectives of the project are two-fold:

  • To establish, through laboratory tests on binders and asphalt mixes, whether the use of high rates of RA is feasible in developing mixes with a high level of durability.
  • To develop the so-called “AllBack2Pave end-user manual” on how to best produce cost-effective and quality asphalt mixes with high RA content.

Furthermore, AllBack2Pave will represent a chance for CEDR to develop an own sustainability rating system for road pavements which will take into account results of previous projects (SUN-RA) integrated and further developed together with the creators of the sole existing program of this type: GreenRoads (GR) developed by the University of Washington. Therefore, the project will also aim to:

  • Characterising the environmental impact (LCA) and economical impact (LCCA) of the defined technology taking into account the European level of the project and by adapting the study to normal practice in at least UK, Germany and Italy. Studies specific to other countries will be offered, depending on data availability from CEDR member
  • Collaborating with partners specialized in sustainability assessment of road pavements, in order to define a state of-the-art on sustainability impact indicators of road pavements and to broadly assess the sustainability of the investigated technology.

AllBack2Pave outputs will be transferred to CEDR and widely disseminated all over Europe.
The project is expected to be finished by July 2015.