The first reference for bitumen in Europe
Eurobitume’s vision is to be the first reference for bitumen in Europe. The main task of Eurobitume is to promote the safe, efficient, effective and economic use of bitumen in road and industry applications on behalf of its members. Our core members are bitumen producers and/or marketers, other companies involved in the bitumen supply chain can also participate as associate members.
In this article we present a summary of our activities and highlight some of the recent positive developments which Eurobitume has contributed to. Further details about specific activities can be found elsewhere on this website and within our 2017 Annual Review.
Speaking with One Voice
The European bitumen industry has never had a stronger voice. Over the past years our membership numbers doubled and Eurobitume members are responsible for a majority of all the bitumen produced in Europe. Our growth demonstrates the value these organisations see in being part of an association that works so hard and effectively on behalf of its members, together making more impact and contributing to improved road maintenance in Europe.
Fundamental to achieving our objectives is the active involvement of member company representatives in our four main committees: Health, Safety and Environment (HSE); Technical; Public Relations and Communications (PRC); and Membership.
Leading thinking on bitumen in Europe
Eurobitume and our asphalt industry association partner EAPA (European Asphalt Producers’ Association) organised a highly interactive, thought-leadership E&E Event, ‘Preparing the asphalt industry for the future’. Experts shared their insights on six strategically important issues and there were very well-received opportunities for debating and networking among the 430 asphalt industry stakeholder participants and exhibitors, 10 sponsors and nine media partners.
The inaugural E&E Event’s success paved the way for planning the next one, which is due to take place in 2022. The location and dates will be announced during the next E&E Congress in Madrid, on 12-14 May, 2020.
Elsewhere, Eurobitume organises and takes part in a variety of other thought-leadership events including the Asphalt Institute Foundation’s Strategic Asphalt Research Symposium in the United States, a ‘Road infrastructure in Germany’ panel discussion in Germany, the annual ‘Rencontres bitume’ in France, the biennial Swiss Bitumen Days, the Sharing Best Practice events in the UK, and the Dutch Asphalt Day in Amersfoort.
In conjunction with EAPA we also support the Asphalt Advantages campaign, which provides decision-makers and users with useful statistical information, advice and guidance about the long-term sustainability, comfort, safety and economic benefits of using asphalt.
Establishing a clear point of reference, nationally and internationally
Eurobitume draws upon the expertise of its members to provide bitumen industry stakeholders with clarity and insight on HSE and technical issues.
- Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) activities
Our HSE Committee continues to review, update and publish new guidance and advice documents – from Safe Handling of Bitumen through to Safety Shower Guidance – which are available in various languages from the Eurobitume website.
We are also involved with national and international studies and have various Task Forces (TF) that focus on topical areas such as the differentiation of straight-run, air-rectified and oxidised bitumen.
In Germany, Eurobitume Deutschland works on a number of HSE initiatives through the German Bitumen Forum. Meanwhile Eurobitume France contributes to health studies with ANSES and INRS, and on initiatives such as the provision of suitable safety showers at bitumen delivery facilities and the remote opening of bitumen haulage truck tanks.
In the United Kingdom, Eurobitume UK is involved in Best Practice dissemination and safe delivery initiatives, as well as in accident report and training workshops. Elsewhere, Eurobitume Benelux provides input to the working group looking at workplace safety for asphalt industry workers in Belgium.
- Technical activities
The Technical Committee undertakes a variety of work, including a detailed analysis of the Life Cycle Inventory of bitumen and a review of European bitumen standards in order to contribute to European standardisation processes.
As with HSE, Eurobitume’s Technical Committee has Task Forces which focus on specific topics, such as TF Specifications and TF Test Methods.
In Germany, Eurobitume Deutschland is very active across issues such as the development in use of modified binders and appropriate test methods, and the round robin testing of paving grade and polymer modified bitumen.
Round robin testing of paving grade bitumen and hot mix asphalt is also an area of active support for Eurobitume France, which also works in partnership with IDRRIM looking at winter damage of roads and on pavement lifetime research.
In the United Kingdom, Eurobitume UK is involved in discussions regarding a specification for viscosity-modified binders, and partners with Highways England and the Mineral Products Association looking at noise-reducing surfacing, surfacing specification proposals and asphalt recycling.
In the Netherlands, Eurobitume Benelux is providing expert input into the five-year Asphalt Impulse programme looking to improve durability and innovation in road building.
Setting the standards
Eurobitume continues to provide important input into the development and revision of bitumen product and test standards, and shares experiences regarding complex test procedures - such as those using a DSR (Dynamic Shear Rheometer).
We also work hard to assure the quality of all bitumen operations and are heavily involved in road condition and maintenance studies in the UK, through the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey, and in France with the Observatoire Nationale de la Route.
Throughout Europe and further afield, we collaborate with various national and international organisations to help create a positive environment for sustained bitumen demand.
Through our local representations we regularly meet with national organisations and associations throughout Europe: a few example being FGSV, the German Road and Transportation Research Association, IDRRIM in France, and the Asphalt Industry Alliance in the United Kingdom.
Internationally, there are a number of key associations we have an excellent working relationship with, including CONCAWE, EAPA and ERF, and in the USA the Asphalt Institute – which represents the bitumen industry and with whom we work on areas of common interest, such as strategic research, future industry challenges, HSE and technical issues.