October 31, 2011

Hot Bitumen- The Nature's Way


Once thought of as a punishment from the gods, this bubbling lake of pitch is perhaps Trinidad's greatest oddity. Birdwatchers will find it of interest as well for the species it attracts. The 40-hectare expanse of asphalt is 90 metres deep at its centre, where hot bitumen is continuously replenished from a subterranean fault. The lake, one of only three asphalt lakes in the world, has the single largest supply of natural bitumen, and as much as 300 tonnes are extracted daily. The surface looks like a clay tennis court covered with wrinkled elephant-like skin, and during the rainy season you can sit in its warm sulphurous pools.

The annual migration of the red land crab to the sea is a world-renowned spectacle. Photo: Greg Miles
The lake is 22km southwest of San Fernando near the town of La Brea; guided tours are available – high heels are not recommended.

Bitumen Distribution in Nigeria

Bitumen distribution: Marketers accuse PPMC of sabotage
From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna

Photo: Sun News Publishing

Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), an arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been accused by bitumen marketers of sabotaging the sales and distribution of locally refined mineral resource.

Management of PPMC was also accused of encouraging the importation of bitumen to the detriment of its Nigerian products, which, they said, had made the imported bitumen to thrive in the Nigerian market. The concerned marketers under the Oil and Gas Suppliers Association (OGSA), an arm of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG) alleged before newsmen that the management of the Kaduna office of the PPMC deliberately refused to give them the bitumen even after paying for the allocation.

According to them, some importers of bitumen had petitioned the company complaining that after importing bitumen which they sold at about N145,000 per metric ton, the PPMC was selling its own bitumen for N75,000 per ton, putting them at a loss. Some of the marketers who spoke to newsmen on condition of anonymity said, “we were given allocation for bitumen which we paid for. We were asked to come for loading. But after loading only three trucks, we were sent out on the excuse that they want to increase the price of the product.

“We also observe that for the past three years, they will only give us products during the rainy season when road constructions are not going on. But during the dry season, they will deny us products.“The top management is in link with some importers. We later heard that these importers wrote a petition that the government asked them to import bitumen when there was none in the country and that while they are selling their own for N145,000 per ton, the PPMC is selling its own for N75,000 per ton.“So, what they want is for the PPMC to stop selling its own until they have finished selling the imported one. We believe that this is an act of sabotage on government efforts at rehabilitating our roads and this explains why road construction is so expensive in the country today.

“At the moment, there is enough bitumen in the store at the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC). In fact, the present stock can fill over 1000 trucks. The refinery is not producing at the moment because there is no place to store the products. “Most of us have our allocation papers which we have paid for. It has an expiring date and in most cases, they will refuse to renew it and for the past two months, they have refused to load our trucks.

“Even if they want to increase price, the normal thing has always been that a circular is released and before you leave the loading bay, you are made to pay the balance. But right now, the truth is that these importers want PPMC to stop selling so that they can exhaust their imported products.”

Source - http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/news/national/2011/oct/28/national-28-10-2011-017.html


Microsurfacing offers a 25% savings in direct costs of roads in addition to being eco-friendly. Interview with Col.Rakesh Bhargava, VP, Yala Construction and Elsamex.

A perspective on how Microsurfacing technology adoption can make Indian roads superior in quality and at the same time be eco-friendly and lower costs.

Microsurfacing is a fast and a durable, pavement preservation technique that utilises the benefits of cold-mixes using rubber/polymer modified bitumen emulsion, fine aggregates and special additives, spread on the structurally sound pavement using special computerised paver. The technology utilises the advancements of Asphalt Emulsion technology. In an exclusive interaction with Projects Info, Col Rakesh Bhargava, Vice President, Yala Construction, offers an insight into this emerging technology

Give a brief background of the Microsurfacing technology, which is finding increased preference, for maintenance of roads in India

Microsurfacing has been introduced in India since 1999 -2000, though the technology has been in use the world over for a very long time as a routine form of maintenance in preference to conventional overlays of hot mix. This has been introduced in India under the brand name of Macroseal, by Yala Construction and Elsamex SA, Spain. The product, cold micro asphalt concrete has been used extensively in many countries like USA, Canada, Italy, Korea, Indonesia to name a few. Many million square meters of road have been resurfaced using this product with very good results over a period of time.
We carried a recent demonstration of the technology which can change Indian roads and the consistent problems of potholes post rains, at Gurgaon Expressway at chainage 37-250 on 22nd October, 2011.

Can you elaborate on the entry of this technology in India?

A study was initiated for use of bitumen emulsion (cold process) to maintain Delhi roads by the state government as a suitable alternative method for maintenance of roads in light of ban on hot-mix plants imposed by the Supreme Court. The study was conducted approximately ten years back, by Elsamex S.A, Spain with the active involvement of Central Road Research institute (CRRI), Delhi. In the study report, the specifications for the use of cold emulsion for maintaining various types of roads were standardised with the latest state-of-the-art technology. The study report was utilized by Delhi Public Works Department, New Delhi Municipal Council and Ministry of road transport and highways (MORT&H). Subsequently the technology was given a go ahead for maintaining the roads of Delhi. It has also been included the MORT&H specifications in clause 516 as slurry seal. IRC subsequently brought out IRC SP:81 - 2008 'Tentative Specifications for Microsurfacing'. NHAI has also issued a circular recommending Microsurfacing for renewal of wearing course for Maintenance of National Highways.

Please give an insight into the technology and the rationale behind usage of Microsurfacing

Microsurfacing is a fast and durable pavement preservation technique that utilises the benefits of cold-mixes using latex/polymer modified bitumen emulsion, fine aggregates and special additives, spread on a structurally sound pavement using special computerised paver, spread in a thin film. Microsurfacing provides cost-effectiveness, fast application and durability distress occurs and where pavement life extension is required before any casualty. The technology utilises the advancements of Asphalt Emulsion technology by special mix design done in laboratory with carefully graded crushed aggregates, polymerized bitumen emulsion, fillers and break control additives that provide complete sealing of surface. Hence this technique can be used for periodic renewals of roads in place of hot mix treatments with excellent results and longer type of Pavements.

Can you list various advantages of Microsurfacing vis-a-vis hot-mixing?

The prominent advantage of this technology lies in the fact that the cold micro asphalt concrete can be applied as a 6-8 mm thin layer. This greatly reduces material requirement. Microsurfacing can increase skid resistance, colour contrast, surface restoration and increase in service life of high-speed, heavy-traffic roadways. On airfields, dense-graded micro surfacing produces a skid resistant surface without loose rock, which may damage aircraft engines. Because of its quick set traffic properties, micro surfacing can be applied in a broad range of temperatures and weather conditions, effectively lengthening the paving season. The material used is non-polluting for environment as heating or hot-paving is not required. Application of Microsurfacing facilitates quick opening to traffic causing minimum hindrance to flow of traffic.

Please give an account on the cost-effectiveness of Microsurfacing

As far as costs are concerned there is a saving of 20 - 25 per cent in direct costs as compared to bituminous concrete. In addition there is a saving in the quantity of raw material used. This also means low energy cost for application of Microsurfacing. Over and above construction time can be minimised and roads can be opened for traffic within less time. It reduces the Carbon Footprints and is ecologically beneficial.

Notes to Editor

Yala Constructions is a part of Elsamex SA of Spain in India. Elsamex is the leading Road Maintenance company, with presence all over South America. It has a massive network of roads under maintenance and construction in its geographical spread across Europe, Americas and Asian region. It is a part of the leading IL&FS Transport Network Group.

Source- http://www.indiaprwire.com/pressrelease/construction-building/20111024101558.htm

October 28, 2011

Amazing Natural Phenomena on Bitumen


Once thought of as a punishment from the gods, this bubbling lake of pitch is perhaps Trinidad's greatest oddity. Birdwatchers will find it of interest as well for the species it attracts. The 40-hectare expanse of asphalt is 90 metres deep at its centre, where hot bitumen is continuously replenished from a subterranean fault. The lake, one of only three asphalt lakes in the world, has the single largest supply of natural bitumen, and as much as 300 tonnes are extracted daily. The surface looks like a clay tennis court covered with wrinkled elephant-like skin, and during the rainy season you can sit in its warm sulphurous pools.

October 24, 2011

Bitumen Shortage due to Shutdown

Refinery shutdowns ‘cause industrial crisis’

Roy Cokayne 

Unplanned oil refinery shutdowns have caused severe shortages of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and bitumen, pushing the car manufacturing and road construction and rehabilitation industries into crisis. 

The crisis could cause massive job losses, particularly among small, medium and micro enterprises in the road rehabilitation and asphalting sectors.
Bitumen and LPG are by-products of oil refining. 

David Powels, the president of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), said yesterday that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were major users of gas for heating, particularly of the paint shop, and the fact that four of the six oil refineries were not producing it had caused a “catastrophe”. 

Powels said there was a need for a focused, structured plan “to prevent the economy grinding to a halt”. 

All the motor manufacturers were still producing, but the full effect of the crisis was not yet clear and manufacturers were “living from hand to mouth”. 

Powels said Naamsa and the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam), with the Department of Trade and Industry, were exerting pressure on the Department of Energy to turn up the heat on the refineries to plan shutdowns better and shorten them. 
Roger Pitot, the executive director of Naacam, described the shortage of LPG as “a disaster” for component suppliers because some might run out of supplies today and would then have to stop production. 

Pitot said the LPG shortage affected ovens for plastic components and electrocoat facilities for metal parts, which were produced on a just-in-time basis for OEMs “and the day after they stop producing, the OEMs will stop production”. 

Some parts suppliers had forklifts that operated on LPG. 

Simon Miller, the manager of corporate communications at gas distributor Afrox, said the LPG situation was having a serious effect on the hospitality, manufacturing and automotive sectors of the local economy. 

“In some parts of the country we have totally run out of the product with little prospect of recovering the situation in the immediate term, but Afrox continues to engage with all parties in an effort to find solutions for our customers.” 

Afrox was committed to doing all it reasonably could to cope with the shortage but demand was outstripping its limited ability to import LPG. 

Avhapfani Tshifularo, the executive director of the SA Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia), said the LPG and bitumen shortages were caused by a combination of planned and unplanned shutdowns at the oil refineries. 

Tshifularo said refineries informed the Department of Energy of their preferred dates of closing and the department compiled a schedule circulated to ensure two refineries were not down at the same time. 

But Tshifularo said Sapref, the oil refinery owned by Shell and BP, had had a planned closure but experienced a start-up delay; a fire at Engen’s refinery resulted in it fast-tracking its shutdown and starting it earlier. There was also an unplanned shutdown at PetroSA, which was apparently caused by an electricity problem. 

Tshifularo said that Sapia hoped Sapref’s refinery would be back in production within the next two weeks, Engen’s planned shutdown would run until the middle to end of next month and PetroSA would be back up by the beginning of next month. 

The department failed to respond to a list of questions on Wednesday night. 

Source - http://www.iol.co.za/business/business-news/refinery-shutdowns-cause-industrial-crisis-1.1161708

October 20, 2011

Surface Dressing of Roads

Council prepares roads in Weston-super-Mare for winter

Profile image for vickifitz
By vickifitz | Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 10:53
North Somerset Council has been preparing the roads across Weston-super-Mare ready for winter. The annual programme of surface dressing is underway to protect the roads from icy conditions.

Deputy leader and executive member for highways at North Somerset Council, Elfan Ap Rees, said that surface dressing is a quick, low cost way of improving the condition and skid resistance of a road surface.

He said "It prevents water seeping into the foundations of the road and delays the need to carry out more extensive and costly carriageway repairs.

"We carry out surface dressing between the months of May and September as weather conditions need to be dry and warm to enable the bitumen to stick to the carriageway and ensure long-term stability of the dressing."

Roads which have been surface dressed are: part of West Town Road (A370), Backwell; Silver Moor Lane, Banwell; Ashey Lane, Blagdon; Bridgwater Road (A370), Coronation Road/Bleadon Road, and Shiplate Road, Bleadon; Burrington Coombe (B3134), Burrington; Blagdon Lane, Butcombe; Churchill Green/Sandmead Road, Churchill; Crookes Lane and Lower Norton Lane, Kewstoke; Broadmead Lane, Regil; and Tower House Lane, Wraxall.

The process involves spraying bitumen over the surface of the existing carriageway and covering it with a layer of stone chippings.
As the bitumen sets, the stone chippings are compacted in by the use of a roller and further assisted by vehicles travelling over the newly laid surface. Any excess chippings are then swept up.

The main contractor was Balfour Beatty and the cost for this year's programme is in the region of £270,000.

Source - http://www.westonsupermarepeople.co.uk/Council-prepares-roads-Weston-super-Mare-winter/story-13589924-detail/story.html

Cost of Toll Roads

DAVID GLEASON: Toll roads are costing us the earth

The tolls that will be charged for the use of roads upgraded in terms of Gauteng’s Freeway Improvement Programme have prompted a deluge of complaints

Why does it cost us so much to build or upgrade our freeways in South Africa?
I ask because the tolls that will be charged for the use of roads upgraded in terms of Gauteng’s Freeway Improvement Programme have prompted a deluge of complaints.
A report by Economists.co.za prepared in March highlights the extraordinary and grossly unacceptable costs attached to this programme. The construction costs are found to be 106% higher than those revealed by a database compiled by the American state of Washington’s transport department of US highway construction costs. 

Worse, the Gauteng costs are no less than 228% more than World Bank-funded road construction projects in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Why does it cost $15,4m a kilometre to upgrade 185km of freeway in Gauteng when it costs only $4,5m a kilometre to build a new 128km long highway in Senegal? 

And, to put the tolls into a personal perspective, the report’s authors reckon the fees "are equal to an increase of 2% in the personal income taxes of Gauteng residents. This does not include the consumer price effect as toll fees are not part of the current inflation basket." Maybe not, but just watch what happens to the cost of the food you buy.

And what will it do to companies in the road freight industry? Economists.co.za reckons "the expected income from toll fees is equal to at least an increase of 10% in taxation" but it "could however be as high as a 30% company tax increase".

And it shouldn’t pass notice that there is a continuing bitumen shortage. This began when a fire at Engen’s Durban refinery required a shutdown that will last until November 23, and that complements a lengthy shutdown at the Sapref refinery. Bitumen stocks at Chevron’s Cape Town refinery have been depleted, and only the Natref refinery remains pumping limited quantities into the system.
Meanwhile, at least one company using bitumen to produce asphalt, Much Asphalt (a really curious company name), says 14 of its 17 plants around the country have been standing idle. CEO Phillip Hechter was quoted as saying the current shortage has cost the industry and customers about R2,3bn to date.

And I can’t let it pass that members of the Southern African Bitumen Association were marched in front of the Competition Commission and found to have colluded in setting the wholesale price of bitumen throughout the country. But the association was required to pay an administrative penalty of only R500000. In light of the swingeing penalties applied to other offenders, this is hard to understand. 

I am sure the commission will defend itself by saying the sum doesn’t exceed 10% of the association’s membership fees and sponsorships. Since it was Sasol that ran along to beg immunity, it’s worth looking at who it colluded with — Chevron, Engen, Total, et al.
R500000? Oh, please. 

Source - http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=156382

October 19, 2011

15 Km Road Project awarded in Muscat

MUSCAT — The Ministry of Transport and Communications has awarded a RO 14.3 million road project in the Wilayat of Yanqul in Al Dhahira region to Khalid bin Ahmed and Sons. The project will link Al Murry and Al Ain villages, which currently has a track road connecting them.

 The project comprises the construction of a single carriageway road of 12.3m wide asphalt with two bridges and more than 100 concrete box culverts. Talking about the challenges on the project, N Surendra Kumar, Managing Director, Khalid bin Ahmed and Sons (KAS) said many challenges would have come during the construction of the project. Availability of water for construction purposes is an issue. The company is also concerned over possible escalation of prices of main components like bitumen and steel.

The deadline for the project completion is December 2013. “When compared to our other two major projects currently being undertaken, the new project will be a relatively easy one. Although the contract period is only 24 months, KAS is confident that they can complete the project on time albeit all the challenges.
“Talking about the manpower on the project, the MD asserted that they will give priority to Omanis especially from the Dhahira region in order to boost the Omanisation drive within the company. Asked on why the company will give such a preference to the people from the region, Surendra Kumar said it will facilitate the people to work as well as attend to their personal needs since they are not far away from home.

KAS is one of Oman’s leading road infrastructure development companies established in 2000. Since then the company has been registering a steady growth and is poised to undertake major road projects within the Sultanate of Oman.

Source - http://main.omanobserver.om/node/69005

October 17, 2011

Bitumen Shortage in South Africa

A disaster is looming in the local asphalt industry as supply of bitumen from South African refineries has all but dried up, says Much Asphalt CEO and Southern Africa Bitumen Association chairperson Phillip Hechter.

Bitumen is used to produce asphalt, which is used in road construction.
Not only will the shortage hamper road construction, warns Hechter, it may also lead to job losses within the industry, and the closure of a number of small contractors.
He says the current shortage has cost the asphalt industry and its customers R2.3-billion to date, not to mention the unquantified costs of roads falling even deeper into disrepair, and the closure of smaller companies.

“I have had a number of smaller contractors phone and say that if the situation does not improve soon they will have to close their doors. I know companies are asking employees to take leave – we are – and putting employees on short time. Much Asphalt has 17 asphalt plants around the country. Fourteen of them have been standing idle for the last few days. The other three have very limited supplies of bitumen and will also stop operations by the weekend. I have absolutely no doubt other manufacturers are in the same predicament.

“In 31 years in this industry I have never experienced a situation like this one. Natref is the only refinery that has any bitumen and they are only feeding one or two loads per day into the system and that is for the whole country. I can foresee this situation continuing for the next four to six months.”
The current shortage of supply started with a fire at the Engen refinery in Durban on October 10, with the operation now in shutdown until November 23, and bitumen only expected to flow at the beginning of December.

Following a lengthy shutdown period, the Sapref refinery was suppose to be online with bitumen supply on October 15, but it now appears as if this may only happen on October 25.
Bitumen stock at Chevron, Cape Town, was depleted by October 4, as demand outstripped supply, and the bitumen plant has been experiencing problems.

The only remaining refinery, Natref, is now left to cope with excessive demand on its systems, with the situation expected to improve somewhat in late November.
Hechter says the only solution to the problem is to import bitumen.
“This is not as simple as it sounds, but circumstances may force our hand.”
A list of bitumen customers presented to Engineering News Online hints at a number of road construction projects placed in jeopardy by the bitumen shortage. They include work on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, such as work on the N12, Johannesburg’s bus rapid transport project, the R23 in Standerton, the John Ross highway, in Kwazulu-Natal, and the N7 at Piketberg, to name but a few.


The Cape Chamber of Commerce has also noted their concern about the continuing bitumen shortage in South Africa. The current situation is not a new one, and is similar to a shortage experienced in the first half of 2010.

The chamber notes that there “may not be enough bitumen available for the construction of the N1 and N2 Winelands toll roads, as well as to maintain existing roads” in the Western Cape.
“There has been a shortage of bitumen for several years and this has led to costly delays in construction projects and even the repair of potholes,” says chamber president Michael Bagraim.

He points out that the Gauteng toll road project has been held up “several times” because of the shortage of bitumen, which has been one of the factors which has increased costs on the project.

“The toll-road delays were just the most visible part of the problem. Other projects had to compete for bitumen supplies and, because they were smaller, they frequently came off second best to the toll-road contractors.”

Bagraim says a similar situation is likely in the Western Cape. He says it is questionable whether there will be enough bitumen available in the Cape for the municipalities to maintain their roads while the big N1, N2 project gobbled up most of the local supplies.
He adds that evidence of the already existing supply shortage can be seen on Boyes Drive, where construction equipment has been standing idle for days because there is no bitumen available.
“The situation will become much worse when work starts on the toll roads. It will force up the cost of every other road construction project and there will be even more days when plant stands idle and workers twiddle their thumbs because the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has grabbed all the available bitumen,” says Bagraim.
According to his sources, there has been a shortage of bitumen for several years, with deficits of 20% to 35% in some months over the last five years.

“Under the circumstances it may be advisable to delay the Cape toll road projects until there is sufficient bitumen available to do the job without damaging other sectors of the economy,” notes Bagraim.
Construction on the project is expected to start in 2012.


Sanral says it accounted for about 70% of the bitumen used in South Africa in 2010.
As a result any bitumen shortage that exists within the industry "severely" affects the completion of the agency's projects, with the product used in the final road surface layer, notes Sanral in a written response to questions from Engineering News Online.

Sanral says the problem is made worse by the fact that during the May to August winter period no bitumen seal related work can be performed over about 75% of South Africa, owing to the low overnight temperatures. This results in these projects having to be delayed until September, which now poses a problem on the back of the bitumen shortage.

By: Irma Venter
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter 

October 14, 2011

Azerbaijan State Oil Company Ups the Bitumen Production

In January-September this year, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) produced 188,820 tonnes of asphalt, the company said.
Compared to the same period last year, bitumen production has increased by 15.070 tonnes.

During the period under review production made 71,490 tonnes of lubricants and 100,100 tonnes of fuel grade DT. The production of lubricating oils has increased by 10,000 tonnes and DT fuel grade by 50,69- tonnes.

by Rufat Abbasov - News.Az
Source http://news.az/articles/economy/46607

October 13, 2011

Polymer Modified Bitumen

Nagaland first to use waste tech for roads

Road construction using polymer-Bitumen at NPCB office, Dimapur  
Road construction using polymer-Bitumen at NPCB office, Dimapur

Dimapur, October 11 (MExN): Pollution authorities in Nagaland have refuted a news report stating Meghalaya to be the first state in the North Eastern region to use bitumen and waste plastic to pave roads. Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB) issued a note today saying Nagaland has in fact used the stated technology way back in 2010.

Member secretary of the board, Rusovil John said in the note that the agency had used the technology for a stretch of road in Dimapur. “I would like to state that the Nagaland Pollution Control Board in the year 2010 has used this technology using the bitumen polymer (plastic waste) for construction of a road within the office compound at Signal Point, Dimapur. The Nagaland Pollution Control Board had also bought out a pamphlet on the technology of using plastic waste in road construction,” the agency said.
A PTI report had stated in a news report on October 5 that Meghalaya state was the first state from the NE to use the technology in constructing roads.    
Source- http://www.morungexpress.com/frontpage/71722.html

October 11, 2011

Ethiopian Bitumen Market

A US Fortune 500 company, DuPont is preparing to enter potential markets in Ethiopia created by the government’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). The company, placed 84th on the fortune 500, has initially focused its attention on the construction of roads.

The GTP includes plans to extend asphalt roads by over 100000Km across the country said Richard Ntombella, senior sales and technical officer for DuPont Sub-Saharan Africa. He added that improving road infrastructure is integral to the GTP and the economic development of the country.
“With the Road Network as the main supply chain for exporting and importing goods, it is essential that the infrastructure is capable of supporting GDP growth, as it plays a critical role in the development of other industries” said Ntombella at a the DuPont seminar held at Sheraton Addis to introduce its asphalt technology, Elvaloy.

The Asphalt materials previously used in road construction in Ethiopia have failed to withstand the demands made by heavy traffic and weather conditions explained Ntombella. Elvaloy has long been in use internationally as an additive to bitumen to help resist deterioration in the asphalt according to DuPont.
The Addis Ababa Roads Authority (AARA) and the Ethiopian Roads Authority are considering introducing the use of Elvaloy in upcoming road construction programs, according to sources. Both authorities were represented at the seminar conducted by DuPont.

The Dupont subsidiary in Ethiopia, pioneer, has been in business in Ethiopia as a supplier of high yield seeds for the past twenty years according to representatives of the organization.
Source: The Reporter

October 5, 2011

Plastic Roads

Shillong: In a first-of-its-kind in the north-eastern region, bitumen and waste plastic will be used in road construction in Shillong using a technology known for its durability, especially in extreme weather conditions.

To start with a four-km stretch in Jhalupara area of the city, which gets damaged every year due to heavy rains, will be re-constructed by Shillong Cantonment Board at an estimated cost of Rs 30 lakh.

Chief executive officer of the board, S Prabhakaran, told agency that the board is approaching R Vasudevan, the patented owner of the technology who heads the chemistry department at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai.

Asked about the cost of the new construction, Prabhakaran said it will be the same as of conventional bitumen mix but will have a longer lifespan.

Meghalaya to have bitumen-plastic roads
"To lay one km of plastic road 3.75 m wide, 9 tonnes of bitumen and 1 tonne of waste plastic are required for coating. A normal road requires 10 tonnes bitumen for each kilometre. So a plastic road saves 1 tonne bitumen for every kilometre laid. Each tonne of bitumen costs Rs 50,000 to 60,000," he said.

The Board is planning to use waste and confiscated plastic bags for the purpose after the Meghalaya government imposed a blanket ban on the use of plastic bags.

"To begin with, we will use the confiscated plastic bags. But for the remaining quantity the board will have to buy plastic waste," he said.

Meghalaya State Planning Board vice chairman, John F Kharshsing, had earlier suggested that the state government should tap the modern method of laying more durable all weather roads in the state in the wake of the climatic condition.

Meghalaya receives average annual rainfall as high as 1200 cm in some areas.

Source - http://zeenews.india.com/news/north-east/meghalaya-to-have-bitumen-plastic-roads_734907.html

October 4, 2011

Waste Recycling

Rebuilding C&D Waste Recycling Efforts in India

In India nearly 50% of Construction & Demolition waste is being re-used and recycled, while the remainder is mostly landfilled. Professor Sadhan Ghosh explains why the management of this material is becoming a major concern for town planners, and challenges of increasing awareness about recycling.

In India it's common practice for large Construction and Demolition (C&D) projects to pile waste in the road, resulting in traffic congestion. C&D waste from individual households finds its way into nearby municipal bins and waste storage depots making the municipal waste heavy, and degrading its quality for treatments such as composting or energy recovery. The Indian construction industry is highly labour intensive and has accounted for approximately 50% of the country's capital outlay in successive Five Year Plans, and projected investment continues to show a growing trend. Out of 48 million tonnes of solid waste generated in India, C&D waste makes up 25% annually.

Rapid economic growth leading to urbanisation and industrialisation is generating waste, which is adversely effecting the environment. The percentage of India's population living in cities and urban areas increased from 14% at the time of independence to 27.8%. Projections for building material requirement by the housing sector indicate a shortage of aggregates to the extent of about 55,000 million m3. An additional 750 million m3 of aggregates would be required to achieve the targets of the road sector. There is also a huge demand for aggregates in the housing and road sectors, but there is a significant gap in demand and supply.

Estimated waste generation during construction is 40 kg per m2 to 60 kg per m2. Similarly, waste generation during renovation and repair work is estimated to be 40 kg per m2 to 50 kg per m2. The highest contribution to waste generation comes from the demolition of buildings. Demolition of pucca (permanent) and semi-pucca buildings, on average generates between 300kg per m2 and 500 kg per m2 of waste, respectively.

The presence of C&D waste and other inert matters makes up almost one third of the total MSW on an average, but so far no notable development has taken place for using this in an organised manner. At present, private contractors remove this waste to privately owned, low-lying land for a price, or more commonly, dump it in an unauthorised manner along roads or other public land.

Taking action

The fine dust like material (fines) from C&D waste is not currently being used and is thus wasted. In more than 95% cases wastes such as bricks, metal, wood, plastics and glass have some market value and there are contractors who focus solely on dealing in C&D wastes. The use of these materials requires them to be sorted and separated, and is dependent on their condition, although the majority of this material is durable and therefore has a high potential for reuse. It would, however, be desirable to have quality standards for the recycled materials.

An investigation revealed that total waste from India's construction industry could reach 12-14 mt per year

In view of the significant role of recycled construction material in the development of urban infrastructure, the Technology Information, Forecasting & Assessment Council (TIFAC) has conducted a techno-market survey on 'Utilisation of Waste from Construction Industry', targeting the house building and road construction industries. The total quantum of waste from the construction industry is estimated to be between 12 million to 14.7 million tonnes per annum, out of which seven to eight million tonnes are concrete and brick waste. According to the survery's findings 70% of the respondents said they were "not aware of the recycling techniques" as the reason for not recycling C&D waste, while the remaining 30% have indicated that they are not even aware of recycling possibilities. Furthermore, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and other codal provisions do not provide specifications for the use of recycled products in construction activities.

In July this year, in West Bengal, a consultative committee comprising top level municipal management and experts from the Centre for Quality Management System and Mechanical Engineering of Jadavpur University and government departments was formed to address solid waste management issues, including C&D Wastes.

Construction waste in Delhi

Gurgaon Municipal Corporation near Delhi is planning a C&D waste recycling plant on five acres of land. There is considerable construction activity taking place in Gurgaon, but no place to dump the C&D wastes. The fast pace of the construction and renovation work will continue for at least the next five years. Hence, there is need for a C&D waste processor.

With the three existing landfill sites having exhausted their capacity some time ago, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has given the go-ahead for the establishment of a sanitary landfill facility at Narela-Bawana in northwest Delhi.

The Rs 700 million ($15.5 million) integrated solid waste management facility is being developed to meet Delhi's garbage disposal needs for the next 20 years. The site is being developed as the first engineered landfill site in the city and is spread over 150 acres. Approximately 50 acres will be kept aside for disposing of C&D wastes.

The landfill site will take care of refuse from Rohini and Civil Lines zones, and has an initial capacity to handle 1000 tonnes per day, and is planned to expand to handle 4000 tonnes per day. Around 6500 tonnes per day of MSW is generated in Delhi. The Narela-Bawana landfill site has been notified under Master Plan 2021. In addition, the MCD has also carried out a feasibility study on use of C&D waste in road and embankment construction.

Recycled roads in Kolkata

As in many other countries, in Kolkata the recycling of bituminous material is carried out using hot or cold mixing techniques either on site, or at a central asphalt mixing plant. It offers benefits including reduced use of asphalt, energy savings and a reduction in aggregate requirements. Cold in-situ recycling is done by pulverising chunks of road material to a certain depth, mixing in cement, bitumen emulsion or foamed bitumen and compacting. This recycling process is best suited to roads with light traffic.

For hot in-situ recycling, the upper layer of the road is pre-heated and the asphalt is loosened by milling devices. It is mixed together with a recycling agent and the mixture is spread along the road and compacted. Both practices are widespread in Kolkata.


In India there has yet to be a concerted effort to enact legislation governing C&D waste management. There are however some initiatives in different states to address the issue in isolation, or in tandem with the existing Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.

One example of this is the state of Maharashtraa, which has taken a pioneering step to include a separate collection and disposal of debris and bulk waste in its Action Plan. Under the plan each city is required to have a mechanism for the collection and disposal of waste and construction debris from bulk producers. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has enacted the "Construction, Demolition and De-silting Waste (Management and Disposal) Rules".

Waste recycling plans should be developed for construction and demolition projects, prior to beginning construction activity. The plans should identify the wastes that will be generated and designate handling, recycling and disposal methods.

A minimum of 4% of the total site area should be allocated for storage and pre-treatment of the waste. This storage area should be covered and the pollutants from the waste should not affect the surrounding. Demolition contractors specialise in planned deconstruction that enables the recovery of good material for re-use to be maximised. Recovery rates vary from 25% in old buildings to as high as 75% in new buildings. The demolition of old buildings usually generates wastes such as brick, wood and steel. In India most of the old buildings are mainly made up of good quality bricks. The foundation of the old buildings is of load bearing type where a huge number of bricks were used. When an old building is demolished, almost all the materials are sold at reasonable price. Table 1 shows the quantity and make up of C&D waste per annum in India.

Analysis shows that reuse of construction waste can reduce the cost of low budget houses by approximately 30% to 35% without compromising the durability of the structure.


Legislation needs to specifically address C&D waste management. In addition, the awareness level and availability of technology for C&D waste re-use and recycling needs to be improved to make a sustainable change in India. Quality standards for the recycled or re-used products need to be developed and monitored by Bureau of Indian Standards.

Not much effort has been made in this sector and data on generation and characteristics is scarcely available. There should be a proper institutional mechanism to take care of the collection, transportation, intermediate storage (if necessary), utilisation and disposal of C&D wastes. Appropriate rules should be framed and implemented. Separation of C&D waste should be promoted at source and private enterprise can be gainfully employed for the collection and transportation of the waste. Public-Private-Partnership schemes may be a possible mechanism of implementation of C&D waste management in India.

Sadhan Ghosh is president of the International Society of Waste Management, Air and Water (ISWMAW), India and professor of Mechanical Engineering at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. e-mail: sadhankghosh@gmail.com

Co-authors include Sannidhya Ghosh, a day scholar at the university and Asit Aich, executive engineer, department of municipal affairs, Government of West Bengal, Kharagpur.


October 1, 2011

Will the Petro-Products prices will go up

Will the Bitumen and Diesel prices go up during the interim period due the fire at Shell's world largest refinery in Singapore. Pls read on.

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc is halting all units at its largest oil refinery as a precaution following the worst fire at the Singapore plant in 23 years.

“The fire at the Pulau Bukom Manufacturing Site has been extinguished since yesterday evening,” Europe’s biggest oil company said today in an e-mailed statement. “The neighboring units in the vicinity of the fire are shut down. We have started a progressive shut down on the rest of the refinery units with the exception of utilities as an added safety precaution.” Shell is securing the site ahead of investigations, it said.

The fire at Pulau Bukom, an island 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) from Singapore’s financial center, broke out at 1:15 p.m. local time Sept. 28, Shell said. Local newspaper and television pictures showed flames rising from the plant amid reports of explosions and fire balls. Singapore is Asia’s largest oil- trading, refining and storage center, with local product supply dominated by Shell’s plant, which can process 500,000 barrels a day of crude, and facilities operated by Exxon Mobil Corp.

“These accidents don’t happen very often in Singapore,” said Crystal Yu, 29, the co-owner of a claypot rice restaurant about 100 meters from Pasir Panjang jetty, the embarkation point for ferries to the Shell refinery. “As residents in this area, we worry about the safety concerns of such an incident. We’re worried that a big explosion or oil leaks onto the surface of the water and catches fire.”

Shell said the incident hasn’t prompted it to declare force majeure, a legal clause that exempts companies from fulfilling contracts, on fuel exports. Reuters news agency earlier reported that it had declared force majeure on shipments of distillate fuels, which include gasoil, diesel and jet fuel, from the Pulau Bukom refinery.

“We have not declared force majeure in Singapore on products,” Kim Blomley, a London-based Shell spokesman, said by telephone.

Eighty firefighters battled the blaze that broke out in a pump house and forced the evacuation of about 400 workers, Shell said. Two fire engines were badly damaged and 250 workers remained on the site. There were no fatalities.

“We are progressively shutting down the refinery over the next two days” as a precaution, not because of damage, Martijn van Koten, Shell’s vice-president for eastern manufacturing operations, said yesterday at a Singapore press briefing. The company will halt other processing units at the site, including a petrochemical plant, if that’s what it takes to put out the fire, he said.

A diesel-producing hydrocracker at the 50-year-old refinery was closed, boosting regional fuel prices, almost 23 years to the day after a fire killed a worker at the site. Shell has operated in Singapore for about 120 years.

Gasoil, or diesel, rose to the highest in four weeks against Dubai crude, signaling increased processing profit. Gasoil swaps for October traded at $18.30 a barrel over the Asian benchmark crude today, the biggest premium since Sept. 1, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd., a London-based broker. This crack spread was $16.22 before the unit was shut.

“The impact is significant but not dramatic,” David Wech, head of research at JBC Energy GmbH, a consultant in Vienna, said in an e-mail. “It will be a question of how long the plants are off. We expect a week at least.’

Gasoline and diesel fuel were burning at the facility, company spokeswoman Mavis Kuek said Sept. 28. One of Shell’s firefighters was injured and five others experienced heat exhaustion and “pulled muscle,” the company said.

“The incident occurs in an area between the processing facility, including the hydrocracker, and the product tank farm,” said van Koten. “One or more pipes opened up and the product inside fell and fed the fire.”

By Ann Koh and Yee Kai Pin--With assistance from Nidaa Bakhsh. Editors: Raj Rajendran, John Buckley.

Editor responsible for this story: Paul Gordon

Source - http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-30/shell-shuts-refinery-as-two-day-singapore-fire-is-put-out.html