Canadian Biomass Magazine

Quebec transport ministry to test FPInnovations’ greener asphalt solution

September 13, 2023
By FPInnovations

Photo: FPInnovations

A new road segment will allow validating the mechanical performance of an asphalt mixture with a higher lignin substitution rate.

The new testbed follows on from a project initiated by FPInnovations, a private not-for-profit organization specializing in the creation of solutions that support the global competitiveness of the Canadian sector, that includes the use of a bioproduct in asphalt mixtures. The new trials, conducted on behalf of the Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable (MTMD), are being carried out in collaboration with Eurovia, a subsidiary of VINCI Construction.

“The road we built on Raymond Blvd. in Québec City in 2021 with a lignin-based asphalt showed no signs of weakness compared with conventional mixtures after two years. We are enthusiastic about continuing to participate in this innovative project since we believe in the importance of decarbonization in the pavement industry, and we are confident that lignin will be one of the solutions enabling us to achieve our carbon neutrality objectives,” explained Yvan Paquin, technical director, Eurovia Québec.

The FPInnovations project, which is funded by Natural Resources Canada, aims to reduce the carbon footprint of road construction.

“Canada is blessed with immense forest resources. Finding innovative ways of managing and utilizing these resources can provide new pathways for low-carbon solutions. This means lower emissions and good, sustainable jobs for workers. This partnership with FPInnovations is paving the way for a more sustainable Canada,” said Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson.

The first stage of the project demonstrated that the results from ÉTS tests on lignin-modified bitumen and asphalt, that were carried out on five road segments across Canada, achieved performance equivalent to that of conventional materials after two years, confirming the feasibility of asphalt mix manufacture and application. Following these demonstrations, MTMD decided to set up a testbed on Road 235, in Ange-Gardien.

VINCI Construction’s Centre Technique Amériques has tested and submitted to the Ministry conclusive preliminary results on mixtures containing 15% lignin as a replacement for bitumen. Eurovia Québec, prime contractor for this new trial, had already participated in an initial trial of a bituminous mix with a 10% substitution rate in Quebec City.

In addition to the monitoring performed during the preparatory stages, MTMD will monitor the bitumen and asphalt production processes to assess their properties. Performance monitoring will also be carried out on the road section, as well as on a section identified as “control”, in order to evaluate the evolution in performance of the asphalt mixture and this technology over time.

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