Dutch Construction/Engineering Company Proposes Plastic Roads

This isn’t directly about LENR, but I think it’s an interesting energy-related story. VolkerWessels, a major European construction and engineering company based in the Netherlands has published an article on their website that they are working on the concept of building roads made from plastic as an alternative to asphalt. While still very much in the planning stages, VolkerWessels sees plastic roads as having some major advantages over current roads.

http://en.volkerwessels.com/en/projects/detail/plasticroad

They summarize:

A lightweight design, a fraction of the construction time, virtually maintenance free, and three times the expected lifespan. PlasticRoad, which consists of 100% recycled material, is the ideal sustainable alternative to conventional road structures.

plasticroad
Image source: volkerwessels.com

There are some interesting selling points here. There’s the environmental argument for reusing the masses of discarded plastics on land and sea. Modular construction of road surface, where premade sections are shipped in and assembled could eliminate much of the traffic congestion associated with current road construction. The company says that the road would be largely unaffected by weather — able to withstand temperatures between -40 to 80 degrees Celsius, and would have the advantage of a hollow space below the surface where utility cables and drainage water could go.

Someone mentioned on this site recently that E-Cat heat could be used below the surface of roads to keep them from freezing. I think it would be a lot easier to do that with a road like this than with current roads.

I suppose there is plenty of data available on the strength and durability of plastics which VolkerWessls will have studied before putting this idea out there. The company says that all this is all so far “on paper”, but apparently the city of Rotterdam is interested in putting in a test road. And lots of testing will be needed to see if the idea would hold up in the real world. You’d need to see what would happen in all kinds of conditions (e.g. rain, snow, ice, oil spills, etc.), and under constant load from heavy vehicles.

  • Private Citizen

    graphine roads! stronger than steel, new methods produce it cheaply and cleanly. cut out the petroleum industry altogether.

  • Daniel Maris

    This idea certainly needs looking at. One concern I would have would be washing of plastic material into water courses and so into the ocean. Would it add significantly to the plastic pollution problem?

    Another interesting idea is to add in electric charging pads on roads so that electric battery cars can recharge their batteries as they move over the road surface. This could be ideal for roads such as motorways/freeways.

    • Omega Z

      With a built in wind tunnel. I hope they can make it fire proof. Burning plastic is not cool. However, if they can make it fire proof, it would be better suited for sidewalks & possibly driveways. Then you could heat them.

      They have synthetic concrete that would be better for highways that can last 1000’s of years. Heating bridges is a possibility as they are prone to black ice, but heated highways isn’t practical. The U.S. has enough highways to turn the entire state of Texas into 1 big parking lot.

      Perhaps it would be better to replace a large portion of the highway system into Elon Musk’s Hyper-loop. It’s much cheaper then a highway & much faster.

  • http://bobmapp.com.uk twobob

    Plastic Roads, Need room for expansion.
    The you do Not want a car fire.
    Does The road change Colour in the Sun?
    I know that this is only on paper.
    But by us the used paper in the road surface mix.

  • Bob Matulis

    If I can replace my drive way for less I am all in! 🙂

  • Jimr

    It may better be used as an urban sidewalk.

  • LilyLover

    I’m so happy with this today! In SoCal, the cost of traffic management is far higher than the actual road-bed. Also in bureaucratically corrupt countries, the cost of roads is no less than that in US, even for half the number of lanes.
    This system allows for lack of need for “on-site” quality control and time delays for “curing” the new roads – thereby definitely more attractive and likely at lower costs. Not enough plastic worries me too, but not too much. There will be plenty. Plug and play is far better than repair on-site.
    This is better than my idea of “metallic-roads out of compacted-old-cars” !!
    Plastic can be very nicely treated to have desired friction and toughness, so no worries about particulate pollution. Still, I hope they go with biodegradable plastic. They can also top it up with double layered metal-mesh, if needed, to avoid tires on plastic.
    Oh well, modular roads – your time has come!!

  • Warthog

    I seriously doubt that even if 100% plastic recycling were possible that there would be sufficient raw material available. Asphalt gets used because there is lots of it, it is basically a waste product from petroleum refining and thus cheap, and can itself be recycled.

  • georgehants

    Hopefully this good idea is making sure that the plastic dust worn off and propagated from these roads is biologically totally harmless.
    ———-
    The Guardian
    Great Lakes struggling with invisible threat of plastic microfibre pollution
    Scientists who have reported that the Great Lakes are awash in tiny
    bits of plastic are raising new alarms about a little-noticed form of
    the debris turning up in sampling nets: synthetic fibres from garments,
    cleaning cloths and other consumer products.
    They are known as “microfibres” – exceedingly fine filaments made of
    petroleum-based materials such as polyester and nylon that are woven
    together into fabrics.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/09/great-lakes-plastic-microfibre-pollution-us