Eurobitume expert delivers keynote sustainability address at IAT National Conference 2022

Europe |

Dr Ian Lancaster, Eurobitume Technical Lead and UK Manager, delivered the keynote address, ‘Looking black, seeing green’, to more than 150 delegates at the recent Institute of Asphalt Technology (IAT) National Conference, which took place at the Titanic Centre in Belfast on 19th May 2022.

Ian’s presentation emphasised Eurobitume’s long-standing focus upon the environmental impact of bitumen and explored the contribution that bitumen can make to a sustainable construction environment.

He did this by highlighting four of the United Nations’ 17 numbered sustainable development goals where bitumen can make a contribution:

# 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
#11: Sustainable cities & communities
#12: Responsible consumption & production
#13: Climate action

Additionally, the European Green Deal (which aims for carbon neutrality by 2050) provides a road map, which places significant emphasis on circularity and biodiversity.

Ian emphasised the fact that bitumen will continue to be a key component in the construction, maintenance and repair of infrastructure (roads, bridges, buildings, roofing, etc) due to its unrivalled versatility in terms of flexibility, durability and re-use. The inherent recyclability of bituminous materials means that they can make a significant contribution to the circular economy, while bitumen itself is a sustainable component.

He also acknowledged the bitumen industry’s track record of innovation, which makes it well-placed to cope with the challenges of climate change and increasing performance demands, and gave the example of the incorporation of modifiers – which reduce temperature susceptibility, improve flexibility and enable application temperatures to be lowered. These can lead to significant improvements in durability and cut material use, by enabling thinner pavement structures.

Finally, Ian directed delegates towards Eurobitume’s life-cycle inventory (LCI) report, the most recent (3rd) edition of which contains important life-cycle data for the paving grade bitumens most widely used in Europe and enables the environmental impact of manufacturing products that incorporate bitumen to be calculated using LCI software.