The road to sustainability: the superhighway built from paper waste instead of cement
Category: Environment/ClimateVia: hallux • one week ago • 12 comments
By: Paul Hackett
At first glance the new stretch of motorway being built in the municipality of La Font de la Figuera near the Spanish city of Valencia looks like any other. But hidden secrets lie beneath its surface.
Thanks to pioneering tech, Spanish contractor Acciona is using paper ash to replace the cement that would normally go into the road’s construction to improve durability.
"In road construction, we need the strongest materials. And for that, we usually use cement. This paper ash doesn’t just look like cement. It meets all the technical requirements of cement, but it’s also more environmentally friendly," explains Acciona's R&D Project Manager, Juan Jose Cepria Pamplona.
Acciona believes using paper ash will enable it to significantly cut its carbon footprint.
"The potential impact of the project is enormous. We have calculated that we can save 65-75% of the associated CO2 emissions. And by 'scaling up' we could save up to 18,000 tonnes of cement per year, says Juan Jose.
But the benefit is not only carbon reduction. By using paper ash – that’s burnt waste paper and pulp that can no longer be recycled – the company is turning rubbish, that would most likely end up in landfill, into a resource.
The motorway in La Font de la Figuera is one of three pilot projects, but Juan Jose says Acciona has big plans for the future.
Our intention is to scale up and to extend its [paper ash] use nationally and eventually replicate it internationally," he says