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Amey trial graphene asphalt in Kent

Graphene

Graphene-enhanced Gipave asphalt supermodifier undergoing trial on East Hill in Dartford

AMEY have announced that they are working in collaboration with Kent County Council and Iterchimica to trial the use of Gipave, a graphene-enhanced asphalt supermodifier, on a road in Kent.

Working with the Italian asphalt additives specialist Iterchimica, the trial is taking place as part of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) Smart Places Live Labs programme funded by the Department for Transport.

The trial involves resurfacing an existing road on East Hill, Dartford, with the new Gipave asphalt product, which is designed to extend the life cycle of the asset, reduce the costs and requirement for maintenance, as well as reducing carbon emissions and the amount of disruption to road users through limiting the amount of road works taking place.

Moreover, in addition to the recycling of selected waste plastics, the asphalt containing Gipave can be entirely recycled.

Gipave is a polymeric supermodifier containing graphene and a selected type of hard plastic. It has been used in trials of asphalt resurfacing at many sites in Italy, including a number of roads and airport runways.

The product, developed by Iterchimica, is the result of a three-year research programme in collaboration with Directa Plus, G.Eco and the University of Milano Bicocca. The graphene used in the new supermodifier is produced by Directa Plus, one of the world’s main producer and supplier of graphene-based products.

Giles Perkins, programme director for the ADEPT Live Labs initiative, said: ‘It’s fantastic to see our Live Labs delivering on the ground despite COVID-19. These have been very challenging times, but we’ve seen Kent and our other teams not only adapt to keep their programmes running, but also innovate further using the crisis as a catalyst for change.’

David Ogden, business director at Amey, said: ‘We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to provide best value for our customers and their communities, so we’re delighted to be working with Iterchimica and our client, Kent County Council, to trial this new product as part of our Live Labs programme.

‘Using this technology as part of our maintenance programmes could see us create more durable asphalt that could improve customer safety and the lifespan of our roads, as well as reducing impacts on journey time, which brings with it many environmental and carbon reduction benefits.’

Federica Giannattasio, chief executive officer of Iterchimica, said: Gipave, enhanced by G+ graphene produced by our partner Directa Plus, is an innovative technology that allows to obtain longer-lasting, high-tech, sustainable and 100% recyclable asphalt pavements.

‘Moreover, we are confident that it will represent a technological breakthrough also for the purposes of maintenance and new construction works, generating environmental and economic benefits.

‘Starting from this year, the new manufacturing plant allows us to begin selling a product that achieves the goals set out by the green and circular economy, as well as those related to the UN Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement (2015).’

Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: ‘We are trialling 350m of this new material on East Hill in Dartford, alongside a further 350m with traditional surfacing, and we very much look forward to seeing the results.

‘Once work is complete on 2 July, we’ll be closely monitoring the scheme to see how it holds up against traffic and the summer and the winter weather. We will also be carrying out laboratory testing to have a comparison against traditional materials.’

Giulio Cesareo, chief executive of Directa Plus, said: ‘Directa’s vision is to use graphene technology to enhance existing products, to provide better outcomes for end-users. Gipave is an excellent example of the products Directa produces, it allows for stronger, more durable road surfaces, and is fully recyclable.

‘The wide adoption of Gipave road surfaces will reduce the long-term financial and environmental costs of road construction for drivers and local governments alike.’

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