SuperLow-Carbon asphalt has been developed in partnership with Shell Bitumen as a pioneering product for more sustainable pavement projects. In an industry first, SuperLow-Carbon uses Shell’s Low Carbon Bitumen in a unique formula that utilises improved production processes and alternative energy sources to lower its embodied carbon footprint. It also includes a biogenic material that effectively locks CO2 within the asphalt rather than releasing it back into the atmosphere, which creates a ‘carbon sink’ – something that absorbs and stores more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases.
SuperLow-Carbon is manufactured at lower temperatures than standard asphalt, which means it requires lower energy to produce than its hot mix equivalent without compromising on performance. Production at a lower temperature also reduces nuisance fuming, odour and steam at the project site, which in turn lowers burn risk, improves visibility and provides better working conditions for operatives.
In addition, lower asphalt temperatures during production reduces binder ageing and the product remains highly compactable for longer – allowing more time for full compaction, delivering enhanced performance and durability, and ultimately life-expectancy. It also reaches trafficking temperatures much quicker than hot mix products, allowing for earlier reopening of carriageways to the travelling public; resulting in less disruption and reduced build costs.
Vicky Smith, Managing Director – Asphalt at Aggregate Industries, said: “As the UK’s leading building materials supplier, we have a responsibility to ensure we play a central role in the transition to net zero. That is why it is crucial to us to never stand still when it comes to the production of innovative and sustainable building solutions.
“We are pleased to have worked with Shell Bitumen to bring the UK’s first commercially available biogenic asphalt UK market. With highways agencies under ever-greater pressure to deliver a sustainable strategic road network (SRN), SuperLow-Carbon offers a unique solution unlike any other on the market. Containing biogenic materials that lock in CO2 – even when recycled - as opposed to realising it back into the atmosphere, SuperLow-Carbon has the potential to change the way we create pavements.
“We’re delighted with the result, which is a hard-working, sustainable and low carbon product that does not compromise on quality, performance or durability.”
Ana Alvernhe, General Manager, Shell Construction & Road, said: “This innovation is an excellent example of how both new and existing technologies can be combined to deliver a solution which reduces the embodied carbon of materials, a critical lever for decarbonising construction.
“Working with customers on technology development is a priority for Shell, and we are proud to have partnered with Aggregate Industries on this solution using our Shell Bitumen CarbonSink. Wide-ranging collaboration across the value chain such as this will be crucial in accelerating the pathway to a net-zero construction sector.”
The launch of SuperLow-Carbon is the latest in a series of steps taken by Aggregate Industries towards the development and use of more sustainable construction materials. In 2020 parent company LafargeHolcim became the first construction company to sign the Net Zero Pledge and since then Aggregate Industries has introduced a host of low-carbon products, including its SuperLow asphalt and ECOPact concrete product ranges.