Second Bitumen meeting in France

France |

More than 120 people from the bitumen industry; government; city, conurbation and regional authorities; trade unions; academia and other road industry stakeholder organisations attended the second French bitumen meeting, ‘News about the bitumen industry and its prospects’.

Organised by Eurobitume France and five member companies - ENI, ESSO SAF, REPSOL, SHELL and TOTAL MF - the event took place on 8 June in the prestigious FNTP (National Federation of Public Works) building, near the Champs-Elysées in Paris.





Jean-Michel Michou (below) from Eurobitume France opened the event and spoke about how Eurobitume has modernised to meet the current and future challenges of the industry: including attracting new members; handling new communication channels; organising new events, such as E&E event in Berlin next June 2018; preparing new specifications and developing new partnerships to increase safety for bitumen handling.

The interesting speakers and presentations that followed included:

  • UFIP General Delegate Isabelle Muller (below) presented UFIP’s 2017 Communication Dossier entitled ’Our recommendations for a competitive energy for France and the French people’, which demonstrates industry’s importance regarding key issues such as employment and security of oil supply, including bitumen road infrastructures.
  • USIRF President Jacques Tavernier (below) then gave his organisation’s assessment of the expectations and prospects for the road industry in France, which is now seeing an increase in road construction and maintenance activity after some difficult years.
  • Jean-François Balaÿ (below), President of the Bureau of Petroleum Standardization, talked about progress regarding the European standardisation of bitumens and how important standardisation is to developing the economy and promoting French technology.
  • Stéphane Martin, from liquid transportation tank manufacturer Magyar S.A., explained how using tanks with remote opening increases the safety of bitumen handling and transportation by reducing the risks of falls and occupational exposure.

  • Pascal Rossigny (below), Virginie Mouillet and Franck Le Cunff from CEREMA, the Centre for Studies and Expertise on Risks, Environment, Mobility and Development, gave an overview of CEREMA’s latest research on bitumen recycling, and spoke about the importance of data collection to improve the reliability of bitumen test standards.
  • Nicolas Hautière from IFSTTAR, the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks, gave a very exciting presentation entitled ‘Where is the 5th generation road?’. He explained that we are on the eve of a big change in mobility, as a result of the introduction of new digital technologies, which will necessitate an adaptation of infrastructures in which bitumen will inevitably have a role to play.
  • Jean-Dominique Perrot, from Michelin Standards and Regulations Department, provided an insightful look into the future of tyres, focussing on grip, noise and rolling resistance, and the importance of interactions between the bituminous road and tyres. He advocated increased cooperation to develop solutions that improve driver safety and comfort, and reduce fuel consumption, pollution and noise.

  • David Zambon, Chief Executive Officer of IDRRIM, the Institute of Roads, Streets and Infrastructures for Mobility, gave an update on the work of the National Observatory of the Roads. He advised that more and more public stakeholders - including “départements”, cities and agglomerations - will soon contribute details about their road assets to the central database, optimising objectivity regarding the effectiveness of different road maintenance approaches.

  • Philippe Charleux, Lubricants and Specialties Manager at Total Marketing Services, then gave a presentation entitled, ‘Building the future: a favorable environment for sustainable demand for bitumen’. He spoke about the recovery of investment throughout Europe; politicians’ growing awareness of infrastructure’s importance; new regulations, such as Global cap 2020 for marine fuel and energy transition; and new technologies for future mobility; and encouraged the development of sustainable bitumen and confidence in the future

Eurobitume President Siobhan McKelvey closed the event, praising the organisation, comprehensive programme and the contribution from the speakers.
“We recognise that education and communication will have a crucial role in the future, and this ‘exchange platform’ demonstrates the importance of sharing knowledge and best practices between key industry stakeholders. France is known for being a pioneer in road-related technologies, and many of these innovations are recognised across other European countries.

“We hear a lot about smart infrastructure and smart roads: now I am also hearing about smart asphalt and smart bitumen in the same discussions - all of us working together for the best solutions. The connection starts with infrastructure needs and ends in bitumen!”.

At the end, the attendees were invited to participate in E&E Event 2018, ‘Preparing the asphalt industry for the future’, in Berlin on 14-15 June 2018, and then enjoyed some valuable time networking with fellow attendees and cocktails.

Most of presentations can be downloaded here.