What Is Bio-Bitumen?

an image of trees representing bio-bitumen

Bio-bitumen is a sustainable alternative to traditional asphalt. It’s made from waste materials and other natural products, and it’s designed to lower the carbon footprint of road construction. There are many benefits to using bio-bitumen over traditional fossil-based bitumen. In this blog, we look at what bio-bitumen is and its main uses and benefits.

What Is Bio-Bitumen?

Bio-bitumen is a petroleum-free alternative to bitumen, or asphalt, as it’s known in the USA. It’s made using non-petroleum-based renewable resources and can be made from vegetable oils, synthetic polymers, or both, making it a more sustainable model long term. The use of non-petroleum alternatives has increased since 2003 due to concerns about Peak oil, pollution, and climate change.

How is bio-bitumen made?

Bio-bitumen is a type of asphalt mixture that is made with lignins from various waste streams. Lignins are polymeric biopolymers that can be found in the cell walls of plants. They provide structure to the plant and help it grow. When these lignins are blended with other polymers, such as bitumen and sulfur, they form a binding agent that can be used in asphalt. This is called bio-asphalt or bio-bitumen, and it has many benefits over conventional asphalt.

Bio-bitumen is created from waste by heating waste mixtures at around 500°C without oxygen. In the production of biofuels, this process is called pyrolysis, which is the same as making charcoal and biochar.

The Benefits

Bio-bitumen has many benefits compared to traditional asphalt. For example, it doesn’t use any petroleum products in its production, so it’s more environmentally friendly than traditional asphalt. It also doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals, so it’s safer for workers and the environment.

It’s also possible that bio-bitumen could be made from broken-down organic parts of household waste, such as food waste, plastic, paper and textiles, that can form a liquid with similar properties to the bio-bitumen made now.

What Are Heat Islands?

A heat island is a phenomenon that describes urban and suburban temperatures that are 1 to 6 °C (2 to 10 °F) hotter than nearby rural areas. The elevated temperatures have negative impacts on communities, including increasing peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution levels, and heat-related illness and mortality.

Bio-bitumen helps to reduce the harmful long-term effects of heat islands that asphalt causes by absorbing more solar radiation than asphalt, which cools down the ground surface and reduces the amount of solar energy absorbed by buildings.

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