Starting with sustainability

Puma’s OLEXOCRUMB is made with tyre derrived rubber, courtesy of Puma

Roads & infrastructure looks at Puma energy’s sustainable road building solutions. From ‘olexocrumb’- a hybrid binder made with recycled tyre rubber, to anova – a bio-oil based warm mix additive, Puma’s new product range is geared towards green construction.

In recognising the global transition towards sustainable development and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Puma Energy has committed to becoming a carbon neutral business by 2030.

In Australia Puma Bitumen, which is a division of Puma Energy, is a supply chain specialist providing bitumen products across the country. The company has the largest bulk bitumen shipping fleet in the world making it one of the strongest suppliers in this space.

Over the last few years Puma Bitumen’s research and development has been centred around finding sustainable solutions for road building across Australia.

With a line of sustainable products such as ‘OLEXOCRUMB’, GB5, EME2 and a preblended warm mix additive, Puma Bitumen offers sustainable options for all types of road construction.

In early 2020 Puma Bitumen announced its first successful demonstration of its product ‘OLEXOCRUMB’, a specially formulated hybrid binder which contains both tyre derived rubber and styrene-butadiene- styrene (SBS).

Since then, around 6000 tonnes of the material have been laid in Queensland. Recently the Puma Bitumen team in Melbourne conducted another trial on a quarry access road using ‘OLEXOCRUMB’ A10E, recycled glass fines and a new bio-based warm mix additive they
are introducing to the Australian market called Anova.

Puma Bitumen’s Global Technical Manager Dr. Erik Denneman says Puma added this bio-oil based warm mix additive to its product range as it fits into the first stage of the reduce, reuse, recycle circular economy initiative.

“What we can do as a bitumen supplier is to support customers in reducing emissions at the asphalt plant,” he says.

“That is why we have introduced AnovaTM, which is a bio-oil based additive made from 100 per cent vegetable derived oils. The great thing about that as with other warm mix additives, it is completely inert from a health and safety perspective, which is really good news for the crews on-site,” he says.

AfPA’s Queensland branch identified in a 2012 paper that the use of warm mix asphalt at lower mixing and laying temperatures would result in reduced emissions. The paper also stated it would have positive effects on the working environment during production and paving.

“First of all you don’t have to heat warm mix asphalt as much which reduces the carbon footprint at the asphalt plant,” Denneman says.

“Then for every 12 degrees you reduce the temperature in paving, you halve the emissions on site. We are typically looking at a 30 degree reduction in paving temperature with AnovaTM so that is really big.”

In 2020, AfPA then introduced its Asphalt Sustainability Framework, which will measure asphalt sustainability by looking at all sections of asphalt production and lifecycle. This framework has demonstrated the growing demand for sustainability reporting from contractors and project owners.

“There is a larger sustainability drive within industry and our products are aimed at that and all the research and development we do has a sustainability aspect to it. This all fits under the larger umbrella as Puma is looking to be carbon neutral by 2030,” Denneman says.

“Our customers have been interested in sustainability and we’ve been getting those signals for a long time. Now with formal structures such as ISCA, customers really want to know how the procurement of bitumen impacts on their overall environmental impacts and carbon footprint.”

Puma’s recent Melbourne trial was conducted on the March 14th. The mix, which included OLEXOCRUMB A10E, recycled glass and AnovaTM, was laid with standard equipment and practices that would be used with any normal road construction job.

“The customer was really happy with the result once it was laid. This was our first use of a warm-mix additive product in Australia,” Denneman says.

“Warm-mix additive products at the moment need to be assessed by the road agencies before use, but we are finding road agencies quite supportive of these products now, especially because of the emissions reduction possibilities.”

Puma Bitumen have also developed other products that work to reduce emissions and contribute to the “reduce, reuse, recycle” initiative.

One of these is its GB5 base course mix, for which it has partnered with one of France’s largest construction companies Eiffage to bring to Australia. GB5 is a specialty asphalt product that enables a thinner layer of asphalt to be laid while achieving high performance.

Last year, Puma Bitumen teamed up with Boral for a demonstration project using both OLEXOCRUMB and the GB5 basecourse. The demonstration used 2000 tonnes of OLEXOCRUMB and the companies found the GB5 basecourse mix had high stability during placement and compaction.

Following the success of this trial Puma began to offer both OLEXOCRUMB and GB5 from various terminals in Australia. The company is now starting with Anova and are continuing extensive researchand development work to continue on its sustainability journey.


This story originally appeared in the May edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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