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FPInnovations receives NRCan support for testing higher lignin substitution in asphalt mixture

September 11, 2023  By P&PC Staff

Photo: FPInnovations

FPInnovations recently shared that a new road segment will allow validating the mechanical performance of asphalt mixture with a higher lignin substitution rate. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) announced over $1.5 million to FPInnovations for the innovative project that aims to develop asphalt that contains bioproducts from Canada’s forest sector.

The new testbed follows on from a project initiated by FPInnovations that includes the use of a bioproduct in asphalt mixtures. The new trials, conducted on behalf of the Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable (MTMD), are being carried out in collaboration with Eurovia, a subsidiary of VINCI Construction. The FPInnovations project, which is funded by Natural Resources Canada, aims to reduce the carbon footprint of road construction.

“This testbed represents an important step towards the adoption of lignin by the road construction industry. This key partnership with the Ministère is helping to accelerate the integration of innovative products into the value chain and to demonstrate the benefits of innovations from the forest sector. The contribution of the forest sector to the advancement of low-carbon products remains a major motivator for FPInnovations’ innovative projects,” said Stéphane Renou, president and CEO of FPInnovations.


An initial stage of the project demonstrated that the results from ÉTS tests on lignin-modified bitumen and asphalt, which were carried out on five road segments across Canada, achieved performance equivalent to that of conventional materials after two years, confirming the feasibility of asphalt mix manufacture and application. Following these demonstrations, MTMD decided to set up a testbed on Road 235, in Ange-Gardien.


VINCI Construction’ Centre Technique Amériques has tested and submitted to the Ministry conclusive preliminary results on mixtures containing 15 percent lignin as a replacement for bitumen. Eurovia Québec, prime contractor for this new trial, had already participated in an initial trial of a bituminous mix with a 10% substitution rate in Quebec City.

In addition to the monitoring performed during the preparatory stages, MTMD will monitor the bitumen and asphalt production processes to assess their properties. Performance monitoring will also be carried out on the road section, as well as on a section identified as “control”, in order to evaluate the evolution in performance of the asphalt mixture and this technology over time.

The $1.5-million contribution from NRCan is being delivered through the Forest Innovation Program (FIP), which supports the development of new technologies and practices that improve the environmental sustainability and economic productivity of Canada’s forest sector.

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