Analyzing trends of asphalt recycling in France
In France, road transport accounts for 50% and 30% of the NOx and CO2 emissions respectively. Asphalt recycling consists in including Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) into new Asphalt Concrete. This technique can allow firms in the road construction field to reduce their impacts on the environment and thus to achieve the goals set by the European Commission. Unfortunately, asphalt recycling just began to have more importance in France. Additionally, the lack of easily available data and studies about this method makes it complicated to enhance the development of asphalt recycling.
The thesis aimed to picture a good overview of the current asphalt recycling practices in France and to analyze them from an environmental point of view. The main attention was concentrated on GreenHouse Gases (GHGs) emissions and energy consumptions of those techniques. Moreover, the thesis tried to describe the main advantages and drawbacks of the different asphalt recycling techniques in order to understand their proportions in France. The study also aimed to learn from the experiences of other regions by comparing the French practices with other European countries and analyzing these differences.
The methodology used is literature review, interviews and use of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool: asPECT. The literature review provided all the theoretical background needed to understand asphalt recycling and also data about its impacts on the environment. In order to add a current component that reflects the reality of road constructions firms, data was also collected with interviews and interpreted with the LCA tool. Finally, the LCA approach was used to compare and analyze all the results collected by providing the necessary simplifications.
Study results show that France increased its proportion of RAP recycled significantly lately to reach 63%. The main two asphalt recycling techniques used are Hot In-Plant recycling and Cold In-Place Recycling (CIR). CIR is the most environmental friendly asphalt recycling technique, reaching a reduction of 80% in GHGs emissions and energy consumptions compared to a classical rehabilitation method. Hot In-Plant recycling only allows a reduction of approximately 30% in the same environmental factors. Thanks to those techniques 113 000 tons of CO2e and 10,3 ' 105 GJ have been saved in 2010. Asphalt recycling also enables making economic profits and improving social conditions. However, pollutants, tar or asbestos contaminated asphalt, haulage distance limit the development of asphalt recycling in France. It was also observed that France is behind its neighbors but is catching up lately. The main reasons for this delay are the aggregates’ supplies; the number of plants fit for recycling and the legislation about waste disposal and RAP recycling rates.
It was concluded that to enhance the use of asphalt recycling in France, French authorities, research centers, road construction firms and certification organisms have to cooperate and work together in order to stem the main drawbacks of asphalt recycling, settle the LCA problems, to win the trust of the State and the firms and to increase the competition.
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