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Industrial update:green asphalt

September, 1 2009

There’s nothing green about asphalt, unless you can make less of the stuff by more efficiently reusing the pavement we’ve already got.The Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry in Wilmington says it’s found a way. The institute’s new plant-based compound, Delta-S, rejuvenates worn-out asphalt so it mixes better with new paving material. With Delta-S, road builders can add a higher percentage of old asphalt to their new roads, which means lower cost and reduced consumption of the heavy, toxic petroleum found in fresh asphalt.
Asphalt mixed with Delta-S has been used only in a few places, so its durability is still an public question. Dave Hickey, an engineer has used it to pave the town’s recycling facility. “The jury is still out a little bit for it,” said Hickey, who observed some cracking along seams in the pavement. But he said that the problem might be due to incorrect application by the contractor, who had never worked with Delta-S before.