Showing posts with label bitumen 80 100. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bitumen 80 100. Show all posts

August 3, 2015

Eating Bitumen ?

Another day, another tense showdown between a motorist and a cyclist emerges online.
This time the pair clashed in Reading in the UK and the driver has most certainly come off second best by finishing the dispute face down in a gutter courtesy of a ill-considered kick to the rider’s back wheel.
A friendly discussion about UK road rules. Photo: YouTube
The face off begins when the unknown cyclist gets annoyed at what he sees as a dangerously close pass by the motorist. As any helmet-cam wearing rider would do in this day and age, he pursues the driver to express his views on the situation.
Words are exchanged.
Talks break down. Photo: YouTube
Words like: “Are you a f---ing tank?” and “Do you need to drive in the road?” and “Get a car”.
The pair go on to discuss the pros and cons of helmets, seat belts and the nuances of local road rules. The driver runs out of patience and decides to seize the camera in evidence, we presume, once the cyclist signals his plans to call the police.
Driver breaks down. Photo: YouTube
A short chase, a swift kick and a painful looking fall later, we have all the makings of yet another viral car versus bike video.
Uploaded last Thursday, more than 1.5 million people have now watched the footage.
Now, we're not saying Australians are perfect. We've had our share of tension between two wheeled and four-wheeled road users too, but tempers in Britain seem to fray a lot on this issue. Maybe it's something to do with the presence of helmet cams though?
Or perhaps it's just that Aussies take a "less talk, more action approach" as this scary video of a car clipping a cyclist shows. The angry man in the previous video, it turns out, was an Aussie ex-pat as well.
Neither locality nor nationality have anything to do with it though. Where ever humans operate vehicles, disputes are bound to happen, as are accidents. Both cyclists and motorists are more than capable of being at fault as well.
And there will always be someone prepared to take matters into their own hands.
Source - Yahoo News

October 3, 2014

Rubber Roads for Kerala

In order to extend a helping hand to the struggling 1 milllion plus growers across Kerala, the state government today decided to increase the use of  rubber based bitumen for making and repairing roads.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy has announced this today  after a cabinet meeting. Addressing a press briefing   he said that the Public Works Department (PWD) would order more from Bharat Petroleum Corporation’s Kochi Refinery.

Rubber growers are now in doldrums as the price had dropped almost 50% during last three years. The price of bench mark grade RSS-4 dropped to Rs 122/Kg from Rs 240, recorded in September, 2011.

He also said that the hike in land registration fee and will not be reduced or withdrawn. There are reports that today’s cabinet will consider a reduction in these on account of the public protest. He categorically denied this and said that the hike will be in effect from today onwards.

All the plastic boards across the state will be removed as part of a  Cleaning drive that starts from 2nd October. He said that all the flux boards of ministers will be removed immediately. Ministers will lead the drive in each district.  The government also mulls legislation against the exhibition of plastic boards in the state.

Meanwhile,  Minister for Urban Affairs and Welfare of Minorities,  Manjalamkuzhi Ali said that a programme to collect plastic waste from 65 municipalities at Rs 2 per kg will be launched on October 2. The programme will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister. A plan has also been chalked out to collect e-waste at Rs 5 per kg, he added.

'The Clean Company’ will collect the garbage through municipalities. Now, 1,000 tones of plastic waste remain untreated across the state on  a daily basis.

Clean Kerala will hand over the garbage collected from various municipal  wards to a private agency. Students, volunteers, social workers, casual labourers and Kudumbashree workers  will be part of the initiative.

Ali said plastic waste collection centres would be started in corporations and selected municipalities in the second phase of the project. The first centre of its kind will be launched in Kochi in October itself. The minister said a septic  treatment plant will be started in Kochi to treat septic waste.

Source - The Business Standard

September 21, 2013

Diesel from Bitumen

Construction on North America’s first new refinery in nearly 30 years is officially underway in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

The $6 billion dollar refinery – which will be built near Redwater – will turn bitumen from the oil sands into diesel fuel. Once it’s complete, the new North West project will refine 150,000 barrels of bitumen a day.
“It’s just such an enormous opportunity that it just, I think it dwarfs the CPR, really,” said Ian MacGregor, the chairman of North West Upgrading.

The province’s Bitumen-Royalty-In-Kind (BRIK) program, started by former premier Ed Stelmach, has proven especially critical to the project. The deal works like this: the province accepts bitumen in lieu of some royalty payments from oil sands producers. Some of that bitumen has been committed to the new refinery. The province will pay for its processing and then sell the higher value diesel that’s produced. The deal allows North West to get the funding necessary to build the refinery.

Andrew Leach, from the University of Alberta’s School of Business, calls it a “consequential moment for Alberta.” While he won’t call it a bad deal, he believes the risk isn’t necessary as minimal as the province and company suggest.

“They’re making a bet on a spread. Yes, if bitumen is heavily discounted relative to diesel fuel, they’re going to come out ahead,” Leach explained. “If this was an obvious bet that you could make a rate of return on this investment, you’d see companies doing it too.”

“It’s fundamentally a government investment in a refinery, and I don’t think people are really clear on it,” he added.

Leach believes the province should be “a little more forthcoming about what risks they’re taking.”
The county’s mayor, meanwhile, believes the rewards will far outweigh the risks; the refinery could double the county’s taxbase.

“This will ensure jobs, pensions and benefits and our kids and grandkids can live, work and play in Sturgeon County,” said Sturgeon County Mayor, Don Rigney.Alberta’s energy minister also believes the risk is a manageable one.

“Life is full of risks. If you stand still, there are risks. Standing still actually has more risks than actually building our future,” said Minister Ken Hughes. “We’re prepared to use our very substantial resources to build this province – to create opportunity.”

The project has reportedly already employed more than 1,000 people – a number that’s expected to increase to 8,000 at the peak of construction.

By  with files from Fletcher Kent, Global News

October 19, 2012

Shell exiting Vietnam bitumen Market

After pulling its LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) business out of Vietnam last week, Dutch energy and petrochemical company Shell is considering selling its two bitumen manufacturing plants in the country as well.

Shell currently runs one bitumen plant at the Go Dau Industrial Park in the southern province of Dong Nai, and one at the Cua Lo park in the northern province of Nghe An.

The Dutch company is reevaluating its bitumen sector in Vietnam, which is also included in its business strategy of withdrawing from liquefied petroleum gas, said Le Duy Thanh, CEO of Shell Vietnam.


Shell is aiming to develop in fewer markets but at a larger scale, Shell Vietnam said in a statement sent to its dealers nationwide when announcing the withdrawal on October 10.

Shell has transferred its entire share in a joint-venture in Hai Phong, and a Ho Chi Minh City-based company, 100 percent of whose stake it held, to Thailand’s Siam Gas Co, officially becoming the third global LPG brand names to leave the country, after Mobile Unique Gas and Castrol BP Petco.

The company is eying doubling its growth in the lubricant oil sector by 2015, and wants to enter the fuel market, if permitted by Vietnamese laws.

At present, only state-run enterprises are allowed to operate as fuel wholesalers, which import and distribute petroleum and oil commodities in Vietnam.

Source -Tuoitre News

October 2, 2012

Concrete or Asphalt - Besides the Economy




One of the questions you’ll hear drivers and crew chiefs asked a lot this weekend at Dover is how the concrete track affects the racing.  Here’s how:
 
 Concrete and asphalt are father and son.  They have in common what you and would call it “rocks”, but professionals call it “aggregate”.  Aggregate comes in a huge variety of types, depending on the materials from which the rocks are made, the quality of the material, the size of the rocks and the distribution of sizes of the rocks.

  Asphalt vs. Concrete

Concrete is an technically any mixture of rocks aggregate stuck together with a binder.  The type of binder determines the properties of the concrete and even the color.

Concrete is the oldest engineered construction material, dating back to the Roman Empire.   The reason only parts of the Roman Colosseum and the Pantheon are missing have more to do with humans than the failure of the materials.  Today’s concrete is more than ten times stronger than the version the Romans developed.
The most common binder in the concrete used in roads, parking lots and sidewalks is Portland cement.  Portland cement (and its close relatives) are mixtures of  limestone and clay, which are crushed to a powder and heated to over 2700 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is the form you buy it in.  To use is, you reconstitute the dry powder with water, and the individual grains form calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H) bonds that make a very strong glue.

Asphalt is a type of concrete, that uses bitumen — tarry black stuff — to hold it all together.   A typical composition for asphalt is 80% aggregate, 15% binder and 5% air voids.  Bitumen comes from the heaviest components of crude oil, and has the consistency of molasses (which is why it has to be heated before being used).   Because bitumen derives from oil, the price of asphalt changes with the price of oil.



But Which is Better?

As with most “which is better”, the answer depends on what you what to use it for.  The primary difference between asphalt and concrete is the rigidity of the two materials and how they distribute the load over the base on which they are laid.   The more rigid the pavement, the more the load is distributed over the surface when something like a car move over it.

Asphalt, which is more flexible (relative to concrete), transmits higher, more concentrated loads to the base, as shown below.  I’ve drawn the stress distributions in red.  The concrete spreads out the stress over a larger area, while the asphalt transmits stress to a narrows area.  The narrower area and the same load means that the stress is more concentrated.

Because concrete is stronger, asphalt has to be thicker to get the same rigidity.  Asphalt does have an advantage, however, in that its flexibility allows it to expand and contract with temperature changes with less cracking.  Even so, concrete lasts 10-15 years longer than asphalt.

Asphalt is the traditional material for paved racing surfaces.  Only three Sprint Cup tracks feature concrete:  Dover, Martinsville and Bristol.  They have in common that they are all tracks of one mile or less with significant banking.  (OK – you may not view the 12 degree banking at Martinsville as ‘significant’, but those 12 degrees are the reason the corners are concrete while the rest of the track is asphalt.  The stress on the pavement in the corners necessitated replacing the original asphalt with concrete.)

Dover is one mile with 24-degree banking and Bristol is a little more than a half mile with 24-28 degree banking.  The steep banking and the tight curves make keeping asphalt in good racing condition a challenge.  Having concrete also gives a track a unique character – as well as the opportunity to have a really cool monster statue outside.

How Concrete Changes Racing

 Grip Level
The grip level can be very different between asphalt and concrete, depending on a lot of factors.   Concrete is inherently more grainy, and its surface can be patterned to create more grip.  Drivers talk about bumps in asphalt as being large and wavy, while bumps in concrete they describe as  more vibrational.  Concrete usually has to be laid down in sections, which means you can have those bumps like you find between slabs on a sidewalk.  The picture at left shows the Google Earth view of Dover’s surface and you can see the individual slabs.

The grip on an asphalt  track depends  on the type of aggregate used, the degree of wear and the character of the bitumen.

For example, Atlanta has a very rough surface because its bitumen wears faster than the aggregate, as I’ve shown at right.   When an asphalt track is first laid down, the surface is very level.  As the bitumen wears away, the tops of the uppermost layer of aggregate are exposed.  The sharp edges of the aggregate are worn down by the tires rubbing against the rocks, but the aggregate sticking out provides a lot of grip.  Eventually, enough bitumen wears away that the aggregate starts coming out, which weakens how well the track holds together and necessitates a re-pave.

Concrete doesn’t wear as fast as asphalt and thus the grip level doesn’t change as much over long periods of time.

Light and Heat

Would you believe that the color of the track makes a big difference in how the track races?
Light comes in a range of wavelengths from smaller than billionths of a meter to larger than billions of meters long.  Our eyes detect a very, very small fraction of that electromagnetic radiation in the nanometer (billionth of a meter) range.  From red to violet, the wavelength ranges from about 800 nanometers to 400 nanometers.  The light from the Sun contains a wide range of wavelengths, including ultraviolet light (UV) (which is smaller wavelength than visibile light), all the colors of the rainbow, and lots of infrared  (IR) radiation.

Our eyes don’t detect the UV or IR light – we see the mixture of all the different colors of light together, which makes white.  Artificial light (like fluorescent) generates a different mixture of wavelengths, which is why it looks different than sunlight.

You see the colors of objects because all materials absorb some wavelengths (colors) of light and reflect others.  When light hits a red object, as I’ve shown at left, all colors except red are absorbed and what comes to your eyes is just the red light.

White surfaces reflect a wide spectrum of wavelengths and absorb very little of the spectrum.  The light that is incident on a white surface is reflected back to our eyes and the broad spectrum of wavelengths we see as ‘white’.  Black is the opposite:  black absorbs a lot of different wavelengths, so very little reflects back to our eyes and we get black.


In addition to the visible light, the spectrum from the sun includes the aforementioned ultraviolet  and infrared waves.  Infrared radiation has longer wavelengths than red light.  We don’t see it – we sense it as heat.  You’ll notice that the lamps they use to keep food warm always have a red glow:  they output some visible light, but they mostly output heat .  You will never see food being kept warm by blue light.
How is all this relevant to a racecar?

Put a piece of black paper and a piece of white paper in the Sun and feel their surfaces after a few hours.   The black paper absorbs a lot of the radiation from the Sun and gets very warm.  The white paper doesn’t absorb as much of the Sun’s energy (although it does absorb some), so it stays relatively cooler.  If you measure the temperature of a track over the course of a race, it can change by tens of degrees depending on the weather.

One effect of the changing temperature is how hot the tires get.  If the track is 60 degrees vs. 120 degrees Fahrenheit, that generates a very noticeable level of change in the grip.  But even more importantly, bitumen (the binder in asphalt) is a petroleum product.  As the temperature rises, oils in the bitumen get warmer and make the track more slippery.   Portland cement is crushed-up rocks which (when dry) are not slippery at all.

The end result is that, a concrete track doesn’t change over the course of a race nearly as much as an asphalt track.  Crew chiefs say that the track at Dover is easier to ‘keep up with’ because changes in temperature over the course of the race don’t change the racing surface as much with concrete as they do with asphalt tracks.

The Nature of Friction

There are two types of friction .  The first, called abrasive friction, is the one you learned about in school.  This is the type of friction between sandpaper on a wood block.  The second kind (which I never know about until I wrote The Physics of NASCAR) is adhesive friction, which is the molecular-level stickiness of the track combining with the molecular-level stickiness of the tires.  The heat generated by the tires makes the topmost layer of the track gooey.  The outermost layer of the tire also becomes gooey, resulting in an effect very much like chewing gum stuck on your shoe on a hot sidewalk.  The gooeyness of the track  bonds with the gooeyness of the tires for microseconds and resists forward motion.  That’s grip.
The nature of adhesive friction on asphalt is very different than on concrete because the two materials are so very different.  Concrete has much less adhesive friction.  This doesn’t change the grip level so much (because the abrasive frictions are different) – however, it does make a big difference in what happens when you lose grip. Think about sticking a weight to a piece of wood with gum.  The asphalt surface would be really sticky gum and the concrete surface would be dried up, not-very-sticky gum.  If you turn the wood so that the surface is vertical, the stickier gum is going to hold better.
In terms of a racecar, Mark Martin pointed out:
“… when you lose grip on a concrete surface, you feel like you just got cut loose from a rope. It’s amazing. It’s like losing half of your grip, rather than about 20 or 30 percent that you lose on asphalt.”
All the drivers’ intuitions that are developed on asphalt – which comprise the vast majority of NASCAR tracks – are thus challenged when they drive on concrete.

So there you have it – not necessarily better or worse, just different.

Source 

DLP Picture

To learn more about me (including upcoming speaking engagements), please check out my personal website:  www.drdiandra.com

 

July 4, 2012

West Africa to Increase Bitumen Production

The Director General of Smb, Mamadou Doumbia has announced plans by the bitumen making company to invest $54 million in increasing the company’s refinery capacity. “This becomes imperative to better position the company for the construction and infrastructure boom in west and central Africa,” he said on Monday.
 
Societe multinationale de bitumes (Smb), which is Ivory Coast’s sole producer of bitumen, plans to increase the capacity of its refinery to 400,000 tonnes by 2015 from its current capacity of 250,000.
 
Doumbia said, “Given the economic outlook for Ivory Coast and countries of the sub- region, we plan to invest $54 million to increase annual capacity of our refinery.”
 
According to the International Monetary Fund, West Africa is expected to record an average annual growth of about 5 percent in 2012, a development that has increased orders for Smb bitumen for road construction projects in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Angola and Ghana.
 
“In the past three years, we have averaged 40,000 tonnes per year in Ghana, this year, we are expecting to hit 70,000 tonnes by year-end,” Doumbia said. He also added that by the end of 2012, Smb would have shipped to ship about 60,000 tonnes to Angola.

 “Given the outlook, we think we will end 2012 with sales of about 250,000 tonnes. In the first half of the year, we recorded sales of about 140,000 tonnes, compared with 64,000 tonnes in the same period last year,” he concluded.

Source Ventures Africa

May 29, 2012

TAR SANDS

About Tar Sands

Basic information on tar sands, tar sands resources, and recovery of oil from tar sands.

What Are Tar Sands?



Tar Sandsclick to view larger image
Tar Sands



Tar sands (also referred to as oil sands) are a combination of clay, sand, water, and bitumen, a heavy black viscous oil. Tar sands can be mined and processed to extract the oil-rich bitumen, which is then refined into oil. The bitumen in tar sands cannot be pumped from the ground in its natural state; instead tar sand deposits are mined, usually using strip mining or open pit techniques, or the oil is extracted by underground heating with additional upgrading.
See the Photos page for additional photos of tar sand and tar sand mining.

 


Tar Sands Open Pit Mining, Albertaclick to view larger image
Tar Sands Open Pit Mining, Alberta, Canada



Tar sands are mined and processed to generate oil similar to oil pumped from conventional oil wells, but extracting oil from tar sands is more complex than conventional oil recovery. Oil sands recovery processes include extraction and separation systems to separate the bitumen from the clay, sand, and water that make up the tar sands. Bitumen also requires additional upgrading before it can be refined. Because it is so viscous (thick), it also requires dilution with lighter hydrocarbons to make it transportable by pipelines.

 

Tar Sands Resources



Tar Sands Resources, Utahclick to view larger image
Primary Tar Sands Resources in Utah



Much of the world's oil (more than 2 trillion barrels) is in the form of tar sands, although it is not all recoverable. While tar sands are found in many places worldwide, the largest deposits in the world are found in Canada (Alberta) and Venezuela, and much of the rest is found in various countries in the Middle East. In the United States, tar sands resources are primarily concentrated in Eastern Utah, mostly on public lands. The in-place tar sands oil resources in Utah are estimated at 12 to 19 billion barrels.

See the Maps page for additional maps of tar sands resources in Utah.

Utah Tar Sands Estimated In-Place Resources

Deposit Known (MMB) Additional Projected (MMB)
Sunnyside 4,400 1,700
Tar Sand Triangle 2,500 420
PR Spring 2,140 2,230
Asphalt Ridge 830 310
Circle Cliffs 590 1,140
Other 1,410 1,530
Total: 11,870 7,330

The Tar Sands Industry

Currently, oil is not produced from tar sands on a significant commercial level in the United States; in fact, only Canada has a large-scale commercial tar sands industry, though a small amount of oil from tar sands is produced commercially in Venezuela. The Canadian tar sands industry is centered in Alberta, and more than one million barrels of synthetic oil are produced from these resources per day. Currently, tar sands represent about 40% of Canada's oil production, and output is expanding rapidly. Approximately 20% of U.S. crude oil and products come from Canada, and a substantial portion of this amount comes from tar sands. The tar sands are extracted both by mining and in situ recovery methods (see below). Canadian tar sands are different than U.S. tar sands in that Canadian tar sands are water wetted, while U.S tar sands are hydrocarbon wetted. As a result of this difference, extraction techniques for the tar sands in Utah will be different than for those in Alberta.

Recently, prices for crude oil have again risen to levels that may make tar-sands-based oil production in the United States commercially attractive, and both government and industry are interested in pursuing the development of tar sands oil resources as an alternative to conventional oil.

Tar Sands Extraction and Processing



Tar Sands Open Pit Miningclick to view larger image
Tar Sands Open Pit Mining, Alberta, Canada



Tar sands deposits near the surface can be recovered by open pit mining techniques. New methods introduced in the 1990s considerably improved the efficiency of tar sands mining, thus reducing the cost. These systems use large hydraulic and electrically powered shovels to dig up tar sands and load them into enormous trucks that can carry up to 320 tons of tar sands per load.

 


Extraction Separation Cellclick to view larger image
Tar Sands Extraction Separation Cell, Alberta, Canada



After mining, the tar sands are transported to an extraction plant, where a hot water process separates the bitumen from sand, water, and minerals. The separation takes place in separation cells. Hot water is added to the sand, and the resulting slurry is piped to the extraction plant where it is agitated. The combination of hot water and agitation releases bitumen from the oil sand, and causes tiny air bubbles to attach to the bitumen droplets, that float to the top of the separation vessel, where the bitumen can be skimmed off. Further processing removes residual water and solids. The bitumen is then transported and eventually upgraded into synthetic crude oil.

See the Photos page for additional photos of tar sand processing facilities.

About two tons of tar sands are required to produce one barrel of oil. Roughly 75% of the bitumen can be recovered from sand. After oil extraction, the spent sand and other materials are then returned to the mine, which is eventually reclaimed.

In-situ production methods are used on bitumen deposits buried too deep for mining to be economically recovered. These techniques include steam injection, solvent injection, and firefloods, in which oxygen is injected and part of the resource burned to provide heat. So far steam injection has been the favoured method. Some of these extraction methods require large amounts of both water and energy (for heating and pumping).

Both mining and processing of tar sands involve a variety of environmental impacts, such as global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, disturbance of mined land; impacts on wildlife and air and water quality. The development of a commercial tar sands industry in the U.S. would also have significant social and economic impacts on local communities. Of special concern in the relatively arid western United States is the large amount of water required for tar sands processing; currently, tar sands extraction and processing require several barrels of water for each barrel of oil produced, though some of the water can be recycled.

For More Information

Additional information on tar sands is available through the Web. Visit the Links page to access sites with more information.

Source 

May 15, 2012

NewYork Aspahlt Turning Green

Since fights over sustainable streets usually involve bike lanes, pedestrian plazas and traffic initiatives like congestion pricing, you may be surprised to learn that the city's pothole-strewn black roads are one of New York's greenest components. That's because over the last fiscal year, the city Department of Transportation ripped 300,000 tons of potholed or damaged asphalt off the ground, carted it to city-run facilities and reconstituted it back into usable pavement, effectively recycling the city's roads.


This practice, inevitably, has given rise to its own controversy.

At a City Council transportation meeting last week, committee chair James Vacca said, “Many have raised concerns that the increase of potholes around our city is linked to the use of recycled asphalt, even though the federal studies have shown that recycled asphalt is just as good as new.”

Vacca, a Democrat from the Bronx, was talking about a not-so-recent effort by the city Department of Transportation to use more recycled asphalt pavement, or RAP, when resurfacing roads.
Even though New York City is the country's biggest road recycler, some critics, like Councilman James Oddo, Republican of Staten Island, fear that water can easily permeate RAP pavement and break it down over time. Oddo said he was sharing concerns he had been hearing from regional asphalt contractors.

“Basically, as best as I can understand it, they tell me we’ll press it, we’ll put it down, it will look great, it will pass the initial tests that the agency will do for the week or month," he said to D.O.T officials during the hearing. "But long-term it will not have the same longevity and durability as other types of asphalt.”
Deputy transportation commissioner Galileo Orlando responded: “We believe that RAP has a place in this industry.”

With 6,300 miles of roads matched with increasing oil prices, new road technologies are necessary to keep costs down. Recycling more pavement has been a D.O.T. goal for decades, but in recent years it's been linked to the sustainability framework in the Bloomberg administration's PlaNYC guidelines, making it an environmental issue rather than just a matter of cost-efficiency.
Last December, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill committing the city to make most city pavement contain at least 30 percent RAP by 2015 and for the D.O.T. to "encourage the greatest use of reclaimed asphalt pavement possible.”
(Three councilmembers voted against the bill, including Oddo.)

The pavement typically used in New York is cluster of rocks, finely crushed stones or sands and the glue-like asphalt cement binder. (Or, as city law defines it: “a dark brown to black bitumen pitch that melts readily and which appears in nature in asphalt beds or is produced as a by-product of the petroleum industry.”)

When old roads are torn up during milling, the D.O.T. brings the pavement to facilities like Brooklyn’s Hamilton Avenue plant, which processes 500,000 tons of asphalt a year. There, RAP is recycled and mixed with fresh asphalt. At the moment, that plant makes asphalt made up of 40 percent RAP; with a planned upgrade, the asphalt will be 50 percent RAP.

(Last summer, the D.O.T. Tumblr, The Daily Pothole, featured a multi-part tour of the plant, guided by Warmy, a personified chunk of pavement.)

And after a recent city acquisition of a plant in Willets Point, combined with experimentation with "warm mix" asphalts that can be spread in cooler temperatures, the Queens plant is expected to create 60-percent recycled asphalts.

Hussain Bahia, a professor at the University of Wisconsin’s Modified Asphalt Research Center, said there’s no scientific reason to avoid recycling asphalt. As he put it, it's that education hasn’t caught up with improved technology.

“It's education with producers, as well as education with the public,” Bahia said. “Look, this is a very different material and you can recycle it just like a plastic bottle. You can melt it and reshape it."
Bahia has 21 years of experience working as a pavement pioneer and spearheading research into new paving methods that involve polymers and have names like Superpave. He pointed out that in recent years, producers have found ways to improve the bonds between binder, “the black sticky stuff,” and the rocks in between, leaving less room for water to infiltrate the bonds between the rocks and the binder.

"So really it's not a complex issue,” he said. “You have glue and you have rock, and we've improved the glue, we've improved the adhesive between the glue and the rock, and we've improved the selection of the rock to make it strong."

But one barrier is making sure the previous materials are as durable as new ones, which requires safeguards.
"Now, New York is moving to 30 percent and I can guarantee you that the [D.O.T.] will put more restrictions on how to reformulate any recycled mix,” he said. “And that is needed, because they don't want people to arbitrarily just bring in rock or recycled asphalt and put it with the new mixes. You have to do the right analysis to make the new material better than the old.”

Recycling asphalt is going to be more important as the price of crude oil, a crucial component in asphalt tar, rises. Bahia said over the last five to six years, rising prices meant asphalt binder more than tripled from $200 to more $600 per ton.

But if education hasn’t caught up to technology, government investment in research and infrastructure lagging behind everything, as road traffic keeps growing. "If you look at, say, the other industries like the medical business and the other fields, R&D in this country is anywhere between three and five percent. It's a fraction, particularly, for road construction." He pointed out that government research is much less, about a quarter of one percent. “I mean, it's sad how much we depend on roads, and how much little we are investing in innovation and research,” he said. “And that needs to be changed. There is no need to throw [away] these recycled materials because there's science behind it.”

Margaret Cervarich, a public affairs and marketing executive at the Maryland-based National Asphalt Pavement Association, a national trade association with over 1,200 private companies and suppliers, agreed with the positive outlook for RAP.

“They’ve done a tremendous amount of research and they’ve found that recycled mixes can be as good as, but sometimes better than, mixes with all virgin materials," Cervarich said. "Nobody has yet identified a point at which you can’t keep recycling the materials. As far as we know, you can recycle and reuse it over and over again indefinitely."

Even though 100 million tons of recycled asphalt are reused each year, according to the most recent figures in a Federal Highway Administration Report, only 12 percent of the country's roads use RAP. In some other counties, like Japan, the percentage is much higher.
“In Japan, they just don’t do things, they invest a lot more in infrastructure than we do," said Cervarich. "They are not going to put down asphalt mixes that aren’t high quality. And yet, they figured out a way to do 50 percent recycled content.”

She said some of the resistance in America came from contractors and private suppliers who want to stick with “really, really, really proven science.”

“I mean what they’re doing is basically building something that basically has to last for X number of years, lets say 30 years,” she said. “And they want it to be right. They’re good public servants, they’re trying to do the right thing and if they have a procedure that’s been working for them for ten years or 20 years, they want to stick with that. They don’t want to make changes that could potentially have a bad outcome. Sometimes people are just so conservative, and I don’t mean that in a political way, but more of an emotional way, where it’s hard for them to make a change. They just prefer to do it the way they’ve always done it.”
Cervarich said she was excited by the potential of recycled asphalt. And she sounded like she meant it.

“Between 2009 and 2010, we saved three million tons of asphalt binder, which translates to 19 million barrels of asphalt cement,” she said. “That’s a big number. That is really an awesome number.”

By Dan Rosenblum 
Source- CapitalNewyork

May 3, 2012

Soaring Bitumen Prices hits Malta


Asphalt price hikes may hit road building

Asphalt is made by mixing aggregate with bitumen, which in turn is mainly obtained as a residual product from petroleum refineries after higher fractions like gas, petrol, kerosene and diesel are removed.
Since 2009 the price of bitumen has shot up. Its price fluctuates with the price of oil, which currently stands at nearly $ 120 per barrel.

The present situation is being compounded by difficulties that road contractors are facing to procure bitumen from just five suppliers on the island, themselves road contractors.
This has already led to a slowdown in the government's residential roadwork programme. Now, with no contractors committing themselves to carry out jobs unless the rates are revised, the whole programme risks coming to a standstill.

The deteriorating situation became evident last week when road projects in Luqa, Birżebbuġa, Żejtun and Mellieħa stalled. One of the projects received no bids while the other three received bids with a proviso: that the work could not be carried out at the rates agreed upon four years ago.
Bad roads and potholes are the island's scourge so this situation is likely to fuel motorists' frustration.
Transport Malta has asked the Director of Contracts to put in motion a clause in the 2009 framework agreement signed with 14 road contractors that allows for the rates to be re-negotiated. The framework agreement expires at the end of this year.

Sources said auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has been engaged to verify the new rates being proposed by contractors so that they would at least be able to cover their costs.

The government had signed a framework agreement under which road projects are assigned to different contractors at pre-agreed rates. It ensured that work could proceed at a fast pace as there was no need for calls for tenders – jobs were awarded to contractors according to what they could take on.
More than 400 residential roads have been constructed since 2008, most of them for the first time, with another 100 programmed by the end of the year. Around half of these had been promised prior to the last general election.

By  Matthew Xuereb -Source- Times of Malta