Road asphalt becomes green as well

Who would ever thought that bumpy roads with usual pot holes and uneven asphalt would join the going green bandwagon. Apparently, the main content which is asphalt can likewise be turned green if people look hard enough.

Asphalt can be good if it is made the right way. Normally, we see quick drying ones which unfortunately are made of the usual fuel and lubricants before they are laid down to smoothen our roads. But with the efforts of various countries such as Bahia and South Africa, we may be able to pick up a thing or two on how to use asphalt to the max.

Asphalt is a byproduct of the process of refining crude oil for fuel and lubricants. To prepare the gooey substance for application on roadways, Americans and Europeans may heat asphalt up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, creating hefty emissions of greenhouse gases.

Less-wealthy nations including South Africa and India have many years of headway in using so-called cold or warm mixes of asphalt, which require less heat and energy.

South Africans shave asphalt into smaller bits and mix it in water and soap-like surfactants, which don’t harden until after being laid on the road.

Bahia is interested in exploring modified, cold mix asphalts that might use plastics to achieve a longer-lasting, quieter, and safer end result.

And cold mixes also can use more recycled materials. Asphalt is the most frequently recycled material in the nation, according to the industry. Still, recycled asphalt contains only about about 15 percent reused materials, which Bahia wants to help expand.

“My best hope is to get the paving industry to recognize that they can save tremendous amounts of energy and impact on the environment by using different ideas in building our roads,” Bahia said.

Porous asphalt, used on Italian toll roads, is also considered more eco-friendly because it allows rainwater to seep into the ground and reduces noise. And it helps to reduce skidding and accidents. Bahia said cold mix, porous asphalt might be a possibility to explore.