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Inroads into infrastructure
Source：International Plastics News for Asia
Date Published：8/23/2017 10:08:10 AM
The PlasticRoad is a unique concept to build plastic roads as a sustainable alternative to traditional asphalt roads.
VolkerWessels subsidiary KWS, Wavin and Total announced an agreement in October 2016 to develop the PlasticRoad, a unique concept to build plastic roads as a sustainable alternative to traditional asphalt roads.
The PlasticRoad concept, first introduced in 2015 by KWS, entails recycling plastic waste into lightweight modules with hollow interiors that can be fitted with cables and plastic pipes and allow excess water to drain. The pre-fabricated units will be easy to transport, assemble and maintain, and the lighter weight means the ground will be less prone to subsidence. The objective is to create a road with a smaller ecological footprint than traditional road systems. When the elements reach their end of life expectancy they can be recycled again, contributing to a circular economy and cleaner environment.
Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma, the inventors of PlasticRoad, stated: "Together with Wavin and Total, we now have a vast pool of knowledge, experience and resources, and can take concrete steps in the development of PlasticRoad. We expect to have a first prototype completed by year-end 2017." KWS Director, Rolf Mars, added: "Wavin and Total believe in the PlasticRoad concept and I have every confidence in a constructive and successful collaboration."
KWS, a subsidiary of VolkerWessels, is the market leader in road construction and the production of asphalt in the Netherlands. As an all-round contractor, KWS performs the construction of large, complicated and multidisciplinary (infrastructural) projects as well as small projects for local governments and private individuals. Wavin Wavin is Europe’s innovative leading supplier of plastic pipe solutions for reliable distribution of gas and water, management of foul and rain water and efficient heating and cooling of buildings. They are a subsidiary of Mexichem, the global leader in plastic pipe systems and the chemical and petrochemical industries in Latin America. In the field of polymers, Total combines key areas of expertise in catalysis, processes and products to provide high performance and durable solutions for its customers. Total supports initiatives that reduce its carbon footprint including the use and development of renewable bio-sourced and recycled feedstocks, in line with its commitment to better energy.
The prefabricated, modular and hollow road structure made from recycled plastic make construction and maintenance faster, simpler and more efficient compared to traditional road structures. The PlasticRoad has a hollow space that can be used to (temporarily) store water, thus preventing flooding during extreme precipitation. The hollow space can also be used for the transit of cables and pipes, thus preventing excavation damages. Also, there are numerous other conceivable applications, including the installation of sensors or the electric charging of vehicles.
As the PlasticRoad is a completely circular product made from recycled plastic, it has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traditional road structures and longer lifespan, while also contributing to the reduction of transport movements involved in its construction. The expected lifetime is two to three times as long as that of traditional road paving. The expected construction time of a new road will be reduced by approximately 70% with the PlasticRoad being four times lighter than traditional road structure.
Jan Willem Viets, Director of Wavin Nederland, explained: “Being part of the development of PlasticRoad fits in the strategy of Wavin to provide innovative plastic solutions for the building industry. This is a great chance to develop a new way of road building together with other market leaders in this business.” Xavier Bontemps, Senior Vice President for Total’s Polymers Business Unit, declared: “We are delighted to be working on this promising flagship project and to share our expertise in polymer solutions and recycling processes. This agreement is aligned with our commitment to using renewable and recycled sources and reducing the carbon footprint for the markets we serve.”
PlasticRoad is a finalist of the INDEX* Award 2017 in Denmark for the Most Sustainable Designs that make a positive contribution to quality of life. The project, which was selected from over 1,400 entries from 85 countries, is competing in the Community Category. Five winners will be announced on September 1. IRNA