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Avantium will produce lignin for the development of bio-based asphalt

Avantium is going to test a new approach to substantially reduce CO2 emissions from road construction by using lignin as a substitute for fossil-based bitumen in asphalt. The CHAPLIN XL project is a collaboration between multiple industrial and academic parties.

Avantium is a forerunner in developing and commercialising innovative technologies for the production of plant-based chemicals and materials. One such innovation is Dawn TechnologyTM that converts non- food plant-based feedstock into industrial sugars and lignin. In 2018, Avantium opened a pilot biorefinery for Dawn TechnologyTM operating in the Northern Netherlands.

Lignin is a main constituent of woody biomass and is well suited for energy generation. It is also suitable for many higher value applications including asphalt for road construction. Asphalt is conventionally made using bitumen derived from crude oil.

Plant-based lignin is a highly effective natural binder and can be an excellent replacement of fossil-based bitumen in asphalt. The involvement in CHAPLIN XL allows Avantium to demonstrate that the plant-based lignin works effectively at scale allowing for a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of road construction.

The CHAPLIN XL project will test the lignin-based asphalt at large scale by paving four test roads in the Netherlands during 2020. These include a section of road at Groningen Seaports in the Northern Netherlands. ‘Dawn Drive’ as it is referred to by Avantium will be constructed by Roelofs Groep and is made from lignin produced by Avantium’s Dawn pilot biorefinery in the area.

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