Podcast Ep. 23 - The Road to Net Zero - smarter ways to build streets and highways | foresight.skanska.com
Podcast

The Road to Net Zero - smarter ways to build streets and highways

Roads haven’t changed much over the past few thousand years. The Romans had the basic idea – a large aggregate covered in smaller stones, topped with something smoother – that we still use today. But the rock used in base and subbase of today’s roads, as well as the concrete and asphalt used on the surface, has to be mined and hauled to wherever it’s needed. But now researchers are looking into more sustainable, smarter ways to build streets, roads and highways.  

In this episode we will take a closer look at what new forms of asphalt can do for the environment and for the construction industry.   
 
Jiqing Zhu, a senior researcher for the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, says the asphalt industry is shifting to more sustainable materials: 
 
“Bio-based asphalt basically means using other non-traditional materials to replace the fossil-based bitumen or other parts of asphalt. We get a new material and move away from fossil dependency.”  
 
His colleague Abubeker Ahmed adds that adjusting the asphalt production process also cuts emissions. "According to European Asphalt Industry Association data, for each 30C reduction in temperatures, we could reduce about 50 percent of our total emissions from the asphalt.” 
 
And at the Vällsta facility in Upplands Väsby outside Stockholm, Skanska has invested in one of the most modern asphalt plants around. The facility can produce 320 tons of fresh asphalt per hour, a capacity increase of around 30 percent compared to the previous plant used at the site. And everything here is built around recycling.  
Christopher Elofsson is the project manager at Vällsta asphalt plant: 
 
- That’s one of the most amazing thing about asphalt. It can be reused, like aluminium. over and over and over again. So it's a good process.”  
 
You can tune in, listen and subscribe to the podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.    

This episode’s guests:    
 
Jiqing Zhu
Senior researcher with the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute. 
 
Abubeker Ahmed
Senior researcher with the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute. 
 
Christopher Elofsson
Project manager at Skanska’s Vällsta asphalt plant.