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Shell introduce Shell Bitumen FreshAir

Shell Bitumen FreshAir field trial in Thailand

Company launches new bitumen product to help reduce impact of road paving on local air quality

SHELL have launched a new bitumen product which, they say, can help reduce the impact of asphalt production and paving on local air quality.

According to the company, Shell Bitumen FreshAir has been shown to help reduce emissions of specific gases and particulates from asphalt mixtures during production and paving by an average of 40%* when compared with conventional bitumen.

‘Road infrastructure is essential to modern living, but urbanization and denser transport and industrial activity have resulted in worsening levels of local air quality,’ said Jason Wong, vice-president of Shell Global Bitumen and Sulphur.

‘The need for cleaner construction and transport infrastructure requires every industry to do its part in developing cleaner ways of working.’

Developed at Shell’s major R&D centre in Bangalore, India, Shell Bitumen FreshAir consists of an innovative bitumen technology that acts directly with chemical compounds affecting air quality, as well as odour-releasing molecules.

This chemical reaction takes place in situ at a molecular level, helping to cut specific gases and particulates or minimize their release into the air during production and paving, reducing the impact on local air quality.

Shell claim to be the first major supplier of bitumen to develop a solution that addresses impact on air quality.

They say switching to Shell Bitumen FreshAir is estimated to have a similar effect on particulate matter (PM10) as planting an average of 16 trees**; or a similar impact on the reduction of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) equivalent to removing an average of 40 cars*** per kilometre of asphalt laid per year.

Shell Bitumen FreshAir has been tested with road constructors and air-quality experts during externally monitored field trials in cities in France, the Netherlands, Thailand and the UK.

The ready-to-use solution, which can be easily used with existing asphalt mixing and laying processes, will be available in a number of countries from this year.

*Tests showed that using Shell Bitumen FreshAir reduced the levels of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and particulate matter (PM) by an average  of 40% during asphalt production and road paving when compared with conventional bitumen.
**Calculated based upon average reduction in particulate matter during field studies.
***Calculated from statistically validated laboratory studies.

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