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ICT Researchers Explore Energy Use Associated with In-Place Recycling Paving Methods

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In-place recycling methods have become popular with transportation agencies who want to focus on the use of sustainable, cost-effective, and environmentally conscious construction practices. These methods could offer a viable alternative to the more traditional rehabilitation techniques used on asphalt-surfaced pavements because practice has shown them to provide good product value for relatively low construction costs. In-place recycling generally involves:

  • milling existing pavements
  • mixing the milled material
  • adding heat and/or rejuvenators or additives
  • immediately repaving using the processed recycled material

A life-cycle assessment methodology and framework will be developed to help guide agencies in making rational decisions when identifying the environmental determinants associated with in-place recycling methods and when comparing these methods with conventional rehabilitation methods. The environmental burdens of pavements rehabilitated using HIPR and CIPR will be analyzed throughout their life cycles.

"We will gather, analyze, and distill data to determine the total energy use of various in-place paving methods and compare that to conventional paving,"
says  Hasan Ozer, research assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 
"Data will be collected from states and contractors, a life-cycle inventory will be developed, and a user-friendly tool will be created for development of a generalized methodology for in-place recycling techniques," adds ICT director Imad Al-Qadi, Founder Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois, who serves as principal investigator for this study. 

In spite of the demonstrated success of these techniques, the researchers expect to face quite a few challenges during the course of the project-namely:

  • the variability of life expectancy 
  • performance of applied in-place techniques 
  • the lack of regional life-cycle inventory databases 
  • the uncertainty and variability of data associated with in-place recycled pavement

"As more technologies and their advocates are recognizing the importance of sustainability, it is imperative that we have good analyses to properly evaluate them,"
The study, titled "A Life-Cycle Methodology for Energy Use by In-Place Pavement Recycle Techniques," is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.