In the Netherlands, Wageningen University’s Food & Biobased Research team is making progress with the development of bio-asphalt. Half of the fossil-based bitumen has been replaced by the natural binder lignin in a number of demonstration projects. The quality of the bio-asphalt compares well with conventional asphalt, which is good news for an international asphalt industry actively seeking bio-based alternatives, according to Wageningen University.
Lignin gives structure and support to asphalt, according to Wageningen University, is abundantly available in nature, and lignin-based bio-asphalt can be produced at much lower temperatures.
The team expects a breakthrough within five to ten years once there is more certainty about the performance of bio-asphalt and lignin will be produced on a larger scale.