Norwegian enthusiasts have learned how to pave roads with wood waste
“Construction and maintenance of asphalt roads annually pollute the atmosphere with about 400 million tons of CO₂ (about 1.5 thousand tons per 1 km),” says Haakon Brunell, Founder/COO of the Norwegian startup Carbon Crusher Inc.
“We have tried to replace the bitumen used in traditional pavement with specially treated lignin, an organic polymer found in wood that is discarded as waste from paper production. It is usually burned, which leads to more carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
“Paving roads with lignin-containing coating reduces CO₂ emissions by about 3.5 times.
“First, we grind the asphalt into fine gravel, then fasten the resulting mass with lignin and lay it in place of the old road surface. Tests have shown that the lignin composition is as strong as bitumen, while it is cheaper and able to continue the sacred work of trees – to absorb carbon from the environment. Thus, lignin paved roads become carbon negative.
“To date, our company has replaced about 2.5 sq. km of road surface (there are about 70 million km of roads in the world in total. – Ed.), preventing the emission of about 8.6 thousand tons of carbon into the atmosphere.”
P.S. The startup’s advisory board includes former Norwegian Transport Minister (2013-2018) Ketil Solvik-Olsen.