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Peab first in Sweden to lay asphalt with lignin-based binder

In Sweden, Peab Asfalt AB, a subsidiary of Swedish construction major Peab AB is now starting the first trials in Sweden to lay asphalt using lignin as a binder on a busy stretch of road in Sundsvall. Lignin is the wood's natural binder and when it partially replaces the oil-based bitumen, both environmental and technical benefits are achieved.

Peab Asfalt AB, a subsidiary of Swedish construction major Peab AB is now starting the first trials in Sweden to lay asphalt using lignin as a binder on a busy stretch of road in Sundsvall. Lignin is the wood’s natural binder and when it partially replaces the oil-based bitumen, both environmental and technical benefits are achieved. The trials are part of REWOFUEL, an EU-funded project, with the lignin supplied by SEKAB as a co-product of cellulosic ethanol production (photo courtesy Peab).

Lignin is the substance that holds the fibers together in wood. It is hoped that Peab Asfalt will be able to replace some of the bitumen that is currently used as a binder in asphalt. The company is a partner in an EU-funded research project called REWOFUEL in which eleven companies from eight countries collaborate to develop new bio-based products from waste products from forestry, including biofuels for aviation.

Peab Asfalt has conducted a large number of laboratory tests with lignin from the project partner SEKAB in Örnsköldsvik. The tests show positive results and Peab is ready to take the next step.

That we now have the opportunity to perform full-scale experiments is important to evaluate whether the benefits we see in the lab experiments are also achieved in reality. In addition to the environmental benefits of lignin, we also expect a positive climate effect from biomass being bound into the asphalt. The technical advantages we expect with lignin are mainly better durability and increased pressure resistance, said Peab Asfalt’s innovation strategist Mats Wendel.

When Peab Asfalt lays the first stretch of road in Sweden with lignin from Swedish forest raw materials, it will take place in Sundsvall. Mats Wendel sees great opportunities for climate improvement in the asphalt of the future.

To be competitive, it is important to develop asphalt products with the right function and the lowest possible climate impact. We are now in the final phase of converting all stationary asphalt plants to use biofuels in the manufacturing process. That we are part of the lignin project is important and gives us the opportunity to be able to deliver climate-neutral asphalt masses in the future. In this endeavor, there are also other interesting products in the development portfolio, which gives hope for the future for the entire asphalt industry, ended Mats Wendel.

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