March 28, 2013

Rubber Modified Asphalt in Pellets

Phoenix Industries today announced it has been awarded a patent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its innovative process related to the pelletizing of rubber modified asphalt used in the paving industry.
Phoenix Industries (PI) today announced it has been awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,404,164 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for its innovative process related to the pelletizing of rubber modified asphalt (bitumen) used in the paving industry.

This addition to PI's patent and proprietary technology portfolio broadens the company's intellectual property protection already in place for the PelletPAVE, PelletPATCH and PelletRAP line of pelletized materials.

The patent covers the pelletization process and formula technology related to creating a pre-manufactured matrix of asphalt and modifiers with an outer shell coating to keep the pellets in a free-flowing form that is transported and stored at ambient temperature, thus saving enormous amounts of energy normally required to keep the asphalt as a molten liquid. At the time of use, the proportional amount of the pellets are mixed, either through a RAP collar of a continuous drum plant or directly into the mixer of a batch plant where it is blended with the heated aggregate to produce a modified hot mix asphalt.

According to PI's Director of Research and Development, Dr. Serji Amirkhanian, "This patent is a significant development that will let us move ahead with the introduction of new products based on related technology. We have several materials and equipment designs in the pipeline that will expand our product line of green and sustainable innovations for the asphalt paving industry."

Phoenix Industries is an environmental solutions company that manufactures equipment and provides new technologies for the modified asphalt paving industry.

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March 16, 2013

Road Rehabilitation in Zambia

THE Chingola Municipal Council has procured bitumen worth KR60,000 (K60 million) for road rehabilitation in the district.

Chingola town clerk George Mulenga said during an extraordinary council meeting in Chingola during the week that out of the 31 by 210 litre drums procured and delivered last month, 10 have been used to mend potholes in the area.

“We are likely to continue patching up the roads after the rains subside. So far, only 10 drums of bitumen have been used by theengineering and buildings department,” Mr Mulenga said. He was responding to questions from councillors who expressed concern over the dilapidated road infrastructure in Chingola.

Mr Mulenga attributed the poor workmanship on the roads to lack of equipment but that the municipality is soliciting for funds to procure machinery for pothole mending. And Mr Mulenga informed the civic leaders that KR700, 000 (K700 million) released for street lighting is already in the bank.

“This is so because we have just identified some contractors to work on the street lighting project,” Mr Mulenga said. He said one of the contractors quoted KR500,000 (K500 million) to install street lights on one road while the other two contractors quoted below KR500, 000.

Kwacha ward councillor Kennedy Sinkamba expressed concern that there are still potholes on Nchanga roundabout despite the fact that the road was recently worked on. “The poor workmanship has affected the roundabout. why should the council continue to waste resources on the same works?” he wondered.
Mr Sinkamba also said the Kitwe road, which leads to Nchanga North General Hospital, is in bad shape.
But Chingola mayor Cuthbert Kalebaila assured the councillors that the municipality will work on the roads as a matter of urgency.

And Nchanga member of Parliament Wilbur Simuusa said the Patriotic Front government inherited a poor road network from the MMD which has not been worked on for the last 15 to 20 years.

Source - Zambia Mail -  NKWETO MFULA in Chingola

March 12, 2013

Self Healing Roads

Self-healing roads may one day become a reality, after a university engineering professor invented an asphalt that can last twice as long as the traditional porous variety.
Delft University of Technology professor Erik Schlangen said the key is to add steel wool fibers to close the cracks that may form in porous asphalt.
"We add a very small amount of steel wool fibers, less than one percent of the volume, and then apply an induction plate to heat up the steel wool. When the wool heats up it melts the bitumen around it and closes the micro cracks,” he said, according to a report on HumansInvent.
HumansInvent noted a porous asphalt road will last about eight years before the top layer will replacement.
Schlangen said that while porous asphalt has very good properties, it has "durability problems."
With many pores, he said oxidation is faster than with usual asphalt, and the bitumen becomes very brittle due to this oxidation and cracks easily.
"You get these small micro cracks in the bitumen and so, when a car drives over the road, the stones at the surface come off," he said.
Such small cracks may grow until they become large potholes that can damage vehicles and eventually cause accidents, HumansInvent said.
Schlangen said they have tested the steel-infused asphalt on a 400-meter section of road in the Netherlands, and the initial results appear encouraging.
“We’ve tested a 400 meter section of road in the southern Netherlands that we laid down two years ago. There we applied induction heat and it works perfectly. We took a lot of samples from the road and aged them in the lab by putting them in the oven and spraying them with water etc and then applied induction heat and the tests have proved that we can double the surface life of asphalt, maybe even more,” he said.
Induction heating
Under Schlangen's solution, when cracks start to appear every couple of years, induction heat can be applied to the roads and they would heal themselves.
“You have to do that before they turn into potholes. You go on the road with an induction machine, it can be on a truck say and you drive over it, it heats up the wool and melts the bitumen and then the stones are fixed again,” Schlangen said.
High cost
HumansInvent said that while the steel-infused asphalt costs more, it may bring savings in the long run.
“The cost of material is increased somewhat because you have to add steel fibres but that’s not more than a 25-percent increase of the cost of the material and then there is the induction machine – you need some investment to build that and you have to drive over the roads with it. However, if you have double the surface life of your road, and no maintenance in between except driving over it with an induction machine, that saves a lot of money – the government will be able to make new savings this way,” Schlangen said.
Source - TJD, GMA News

March 8, 2013

GE Motors for Bitumen Refinery

US-based multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) has been selected by North West Redwater Partnership to supply large electric motors, to power the reciprocating compressors of its bitumen refinery in Canada.

Under the $14m contract, GE will supply its Series 9000-RCM large electric motors and other related services for the 150,000 barrels-per-day bitumen refinery, to produce clean diesel fuel.

The company has started construction work on the refinery, located near Edmonton in Alberta.
The refinery has been specifically designed to reduce the environmental impacts during the conversion of the tarry bitumen crude into diesel.

North West Redwater Partnership's bitumen refinery will be the first to incorporate an integrated CO2 management system, claimed GE.

GE supplied Series 9000-RCM electric motors will power the reciprocating compressors to process the crude bitumen or heavy crude oil extracted from Canadian oil sands at high compression ratios.

The motors can drive the compressors with ratings of up to 13.8kV and up to 16,000kW.

In addition, the motors are easy to maintain and offer fast installation and start up, thereby, reducing delays and increasing capital resources.

General Electric Power Conversion Rotating Machines sales leader Alberto Peluzzo said the Series 9000-RCM motors provide reliable and proven performance and are being opted by many across the Canada's oil sands region.

"Along with GE's expert technical services, they will help enable the North West Redwater Partnership to achieve world-class operational performance and efficiencies at this landmark refinery," Peluzzo added.

Source- EBR

March 4, 2013

Duty Free Bitumen for South Africa

The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) confirmed on Friday that its recommendation that a rebate provision be introduced to cater for the duty-free importation of petroleum bitumen, which had been in short supply in recent years, had been implementd by the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

Bitumen, Itac argued, was considered a critical material for infrastructure development in the the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), but there was currently a supply shortage representing about 20% of the Sacu demand.

A byproduct of crude oil refining, bitumen is used primarily as a binder, which is mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete for use in road construction.
The four refineries in the Sacu have historically refined the majority of the bitumen used for road construction and maintenance in the region.

Following an analysis, Itac found that the importation of bitumen, over and above the 10% import tariff, had significant additional cost implications, as it required expensive specialised equipment and storage facilities.
However, imports of bitumen had increased from roughly 150 000 kg in 2009 to more than 17 000 000 kg in 2012, owing to the shortages.

To balance the interests of the domestic producers with those of industrial users and importers, the commission recommend a rebate of duty facility, administered by means of a permit system, ahead of a straight reduction in the duty.

The rebate would provide a customs duty waiver to ensure availability at globally competitive prices.
Itac could also, through a permit system, stipulate quantities, timeframes and conditions. It would also monitor the supply and demand conditions, with the aim of launching a review of the tariff structure three years after implementation.

By  Idéle Esterhuizen  &
Edited by: Terence Creamer

March 1, 2013

Moving Bitumen in Piplelines with less dilutent- Pilot Study

MEG Energy is setting up a $103-million pilot project in Bruderheim that would see bitumen transported more efficiently through pipelines.

It’s a problem that has lasted as long as bitumen has needed to be shipped. How do you move heavy bitumen in a cost effective way through pipes without having to dilute it to a point where it is able to flow freely?

It’s a question that hasn’t had an answer. Until now, heavy bitumen required dilution from an expensive product called diluent to allow it to flow freely through pipelines.

The problem with this process , apart from the cost of adding and stripping this diluent from the raw bitumen — is that it lowers the amount of bitumen that can be transported through a pipeline at any given time.

And one company is setting up shop in hopes to put an end to this practise. MEG Energy is starting a pilot project in Brudurheim that they hope will make this process a thing of the past.

“This is a pilot project for a technology that we’ve developed at a very small scale so far to improve the quality of diluted bitumen blends,” explained Brad Bellows, a spokesperson with MEG.

The benefits of the project, if indeed the project proves successful, would be two-pronged, Bellows said.
“This isn’t as energy intensive or capital intensive as coking techniques. Because of that and the air impacts, it should have some benefits to the environment,” he said.

“In terms of moving Alberta’s product, it has benefits because it allows us to ship the product without moving diluent.” Currently, diluent is added by volume to take up one-third of the pipeline.

If that is able to be removed, it would effectively increase the amount of raw bitumen that could be moved by 50 per cent, Bellows said.

And while MEG is looking forward to what a technological breakthrough like this could mean for the industry, those involved are being careful not to get too far ahead of themselves.

“There’s a lot of potential upside, but the key right now is that it is a learning process. “We are trying to fine tune the processes,” Bellows said.

 “If we can prove the tech on a commercial basis, it would effectively free up pipeline capacity to move Alberta product to markets, and be moving a value-added product to markets.”

Shold the project prove to be commercially viable, it would also lower water usage, Bellows said.

The project is currently valued at just over $103 million. /