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Over the next few weeks, Denmark is hosting a world-premiere in the field of green infrastructure. A busy section of the motorway exiting the greater area of Copenhagen northbound towards Elsinore has been chosen is being used for the trials. This is the first of several roads on the Danish state road network to receive a special climate-friendly asphalt, as part of the development of pavements that reduce emissions from road traffic.

This type of asphalt has been developed over the last decade and is the only of its kind in the world while holding significant potential.

“The implications of reducing CO2-emissions from road transport are vast, as all improvements count. Both road users and the environment will benefit from this and our expectations for the Danish citizens and business life are high. We anticipate a benefit-cost ratio of 40 to 1, so that each million invested will save 40 million in fuel. This will be a huge economic achievement, and I look forward to the test results”, said Danish Minister for Transport, Building, and Housing, Ole Birk Olesen.

Essentially, the goal of this particular  asphalt is to reduce the rolling resistance – the resistance  between tyre and road surface. The lower the rolling resistance, the less fuel, vehicles will need. And reducing fuel use will cut costs for drivers while lowering CO2-emissions.

“Over the last decade, we have worked intensively on the development of a special-mix asphalt that reduces energy use and still meets demands for safety and durability”, said Matteo Petinari from the Danish Road Directorate. “It is this asphalt, we are now introducing to the Elsinor Motorway. We already tested the asphalt in laboratories through the research- and development projects COOEE and ROSE, and we are excited to gain more insight into the capabilities of the asphalt in a highly active environment.”

The asphalt will be installed on a 500m section and will be monitored closely over the next few years, particularly for rolling resistance, durability and safety.

Over the coming months the Danish Road Directorate will fan out more sections with the new asphalt. All in all, the asphalt will be installed on 50km throughout Denmark in 2018. The sponsoring parties behind the research and the deployment include the Danish Innovation Fund  and the Danish Energy and Climate Ministry.

If successful, the climatic benefits of introducing the new asphalt will be substantial. Lowering the rolling resistance by up to 4%, would save about 57 million litres of fuel by 2035 upon full implementation. This also results in massive reductions in CO2 emissions, according to Christian Axelsen, specialist at the Danish Road Directorate.

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