The many applications of lignin: bio-asphalt

Published 30 September 2019
Lignin is a renewable, wood-based, non-toxic performance enhancer that can be used to amend and even replace fossil-based materials in various end applications – and thus, to reduce the carbon footprint of the end product. One of those applications is asphalt.

Lineo™ by Stora Enso can be used to replace oil-based phenolic materials in a range of applications, such as in resins for plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), paper lamination, and insulation material.

Recently, Lineo™ has proven its excellence in replacing a fossil-based binder, bitumen, in asphalt. Stora Enso’s customer H4A (Holding de Vier Ambachten), working in the field of construction and road construction, has successfully been using Lineo™ in Central Europe in several asphalt projects – from bike lanes to heavy load transportation roads. In these cases, half of the amount of bitumen has been replaced by Lineo™. One of the examples of using H4A’s Bioway™ include Stora Enso’s Langerbrugge Mill in Belgium where the bio-asphalt is continuously exposed to heavy industrial transportation.

“On top of being a renewable material, lignin-asphalt is as good as regular asphalt, if not even better, regarding technical specifications,” says, Innovation and Quality Manager Martijn Verschuren at H4A.

Regular asphalt is produced by heating bitumen and stones and mixing them in the temperature of 170 celsius degrees.

“Producing bio-asphalt with lignin requires less energy than a regular one as the asphalt-mixing temperature can be significantly reduced. This is another factor reducing the carbon footprint of the asphalt,” says Martijn Verschuren.

Together with H4A, Stora Enso continues to optimise the use of Lineo™ to discover further advantages in asphalt-making.

Stora Enso also continues to research other Lineo™ applications and is currently focused on researching its use in bio-based binders, energy storage, and carbon fiber.