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Accelerate the commercialization of RARX technology process in the global markets of ECOLOGICALLY FRIENDLY SILENT RUBBER PAVEMENTS

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SILENT RUBBER PAVE (Accelerate the commercialization of RARX technology process in the global markets of ECOLOGICALLY FRIENDLY SILENT RUBBER PAVEMENTS)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-03-31

"Paving industry sector faces nowadays different challenges as the need for less maintenance, more silent and more environmental friendly pavements. The use of crumb rubber (CR) derived from end#of#life tires (ELTs) in bituminous mixtures replies to all these needs however its wide implementation has not been extended due mainly of the following barriers that prevent its wide implementation are:

i. A crumb rubber alone cannot be placed directly into the mixes (dry method) because it will swell and absorb the bitumen causing raveling in the roads
ii. The wet method works well but requires that every contractor buys expensive equipment
iii. If crumb rubber is used in terminal blends it is essentially a waste of product because over time it becomes all digested

The solution proposed in this initiative to overcome these barriers is the use of use of reacted and activated rubber that it can be used directly into the plugmill of a contractor’s plant. The SILENT RUBBER PAVEMENTS project main goal is to market uptake and achieve a wider deployment of the RARX technology, based in a patent of CONSULPAV, that has the best of both methods:

• Easy to apply and use as in the “dry method”
• Performance and cost effectiveness beyond that of the “wet method”

To enter in the global market, two large companies (Valoriza SM- Composan) have made an agreement with a specialized SME (Consulpav, a first industrial applicant) who has developed and patented the RARX technology to exploit at European level. SACYR, a multinational pavement construction company present in more than 20 countries, will be the responsible for the pilot construction in different climate and evaluation. Our distributor in Italy, FHL group will assist the consortia in internationalizing our commercialization strategy.

The project objective is to facilitate the commercialization of RARX technology. This technology has already demonstrated mechanical improvements at low scale on road pavements, as well as a reduction of acoustic contamination. Moreover, this technology has added environmental benefits as it makes use of used tyres.

To achieve this objective it is necessary to meet several partial objectives:

1) Increase the production capacity of VALORIZA crumb rubber plant, from 1.000 tons/year to 5.000 tons/year with physicochemical properties as homogeneous as possible in order to get an end product with consistent performance.
2) Upscale the pilot plant of COMPOSAN to be able to produce SILENT RUBBER PAVE innovative product with annual production rhythms which should exceed 7.000 tons /year fixed.
3) Develop two sections drivers (1 km each) in two different climatic environments (country in northern Europe and southern Europe country) to check the final performance in both climates.
a. There will be made a comparative with other 2 sections drives build with normal asphalt.
4) Deploying a marketing product strategy in order to deliver the economic objectives in the business plan.
All activities have been carried away as expected without major setbacks with the exception of WP 1. The initial equipment selected on Task 1.2 was modified in order to improve even more the production with consequent 6 months delay in the activities on Task 1.4. However, no critical activities have been affected.

All details can be consulted on the technical report. Delivery submission has been slightly delayed in some cases.

The project has been actively disseminated and stakeholders from different parts of the globe have been contacted to pave the way for the commercialization of RARX. The consortia has participated in many major international events and several meetings have been hold with international stakeholders interested in the commercialization of RARX.

By month 18, all WP but WP3 have started, with WP1 and WP2 (upscaling of rubber crumb and RARX plants) being the most advanced. Rubber crumb plant is starting with the implementation of the new equipment, while RARX plan is finishing the validation activities. WP5 started early than initially planned in order to advance negotiations on standardization testing and also some preliminary work has been done in WP 3.

In relation to management issues, it should be noted that a contract amendment was made to adjust some aspects of the DOA in order to maximize the impact of some of the actions that have been requested and accepted by the European Commission in the beginning of 2018. This only suppose an internal reallocation of some partners’ budget without affecting EC approved grant and have increased the impact of some of the scheduled activities and consequently will impulse the market uptake of the RARX

The consortium has hold periodically consortia meetings each 6 months and is about to hold a meeting on October 29th . The following meeting will be held on spring 2019. Other bilateral meetings have been hold with some partners to deal with technical issues.
In the coming years it is expected that the market for rehabilitation of rolling layers increase against the execution of new roads. Especially in urban environments where besides giving a product able to meet the expectations of durability is necessary to overcome the new technical requirements as they are a reduction of the noise produced by traffic, lower rolling resistance and better grip conditions if emergency braking.
For instance a comparative study is presented taking into account different pavement solutions for carrying out rehabilitation of the road layer in urban / interurban roads.
- AC 16
- SMA with fibers
- SMA with polymers and rubber crumb (wet via)
- Thin GAP with RAR X
We consider that RARX could be a great additive for Gap graded mixes that helps to achieve this performance requirement without increment the total cost of the rehabilitation.
RARX technology has clearly high benefits in comparison with nowadays technologies anticipating the potential to be exploited in the European and global market.

Impacts of the Project

• The project related to a product with demonstrated environmental benefits that has a high potential for a huge deployment at international level.
• The product RARX will be ready to enter in the market at month 36.
• The total growth of the business partners can be summarized in a total revenue of 17 million euro and 24 job creation.
• This project transnational value chain where a technology developed in Portugal will be initially implemented in Spain and Italy and afterwards in different European countries.