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Oil and gas multinational, Shell, has recently launched a new type of carbon-reducing bitumen that incorporates an innovative bio-component binder. Bitumen CarbonSink locks carbon into asphalt and bitumen, turning the road into technical carbon sinks. 

Set on more than just reducing carbon emissions, Shell has designed the Bitumen CarbonSink to both remove and store locked carbon. For every kilometre of road surface, the Bitumen CarbonSink could remove an astonishing 6 tonnes of CO2 (based on a model single surface layer, 50mm deep, 3.5m wide, 5% binder content). 

To put this performance into perspective, using biogenic materials in asphalt on the whole UK road network could save as much carbon as is emitted by 50,000 homes in an entire year.

Even at the end of the road’s life, most of the carbon collected from the binders will remain locked in: 96% of reclaimed asphalt pavement is recycled or re-used in other pavements, 76% is re-used in the manufacture of new asphalt mixes and a further 20% is recycled in unbound road layers. 

The new bitumen technology has already been launched in the UK by Aggregate Industries to create its ‘SuperLow-Carbon’ asphalt. Victoria Smith, Managing Director at Aggregate Industries commented: 

“Having been in the industry for many years now, change seems to have been very slow and gradual. This is a big leap in technology that is giving us a real reduction in carbon.”

“Superlow-Carbon isn’t just for the major road network. This product can be used anywhere from new motorways, new retail parks, sports pitches or your driveway.”

Shell’s new CarbonSink bitumen is currently being launched in multiple markets to be used at scale across the global road network.


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