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The first 100% bitumen recycling facility has been unveiled by leading building membranes special-ist the Icopal Group

The first 100% bitumen recycling facility has been unveiled by leading building membranes special-ist the Icopal Group

The BiELSo (Bitumen End Of Life Solution) process is expected to process an initial 12,000 tonnes of industrial bitumen in the first phase and will initially contribute around 20% of recycled bitumen into each newly manufactured roofing membrane. The plant is designed to upscale capacity in the coming years to more than 50,000 tonnes of high quality roof bitumen waste per annum.

The majority of the recycled bitumen will be suitable for waterproofing roofs, while the remainder will be split between modified bitumen for roads and industrial systems. A leading Dutch housing association has already pledged to only use products on its roofs with embedded recycling materi-als.

Used bitumen from roofing contractors will be sorted by a waste specialist before arrival at the Ico-pal plant where it is further granulated, modified and polished into industrial bitumen. Using one square metre of the recycled material in the first-generation products will be equivalent to saving the CO2 emissions of an average car travelling one kilometre.

The project has been accredited by the EU’s Life Programme as the most sustainable process in its industry.

Contractors’ commitment is essential because they will need to be trained about what can and cannot be recycled. Icopal’s commitment is also great because they will monitor the sites where bitumen is being considered for recycling.

The BiELSo launch is part of the group’s EROP (Earth Recovery Open Platform) initiative launched at the conference, which is based on the climate transition of bitumen, roofs, roads and dikes. Two major parts are bitumen balance and roof development.

Contractors have responded well to the strategy because they see the value in playing more of a consultancy role and advising on Icopal products that take the meaning of “green” roofs to a differ-ent dimension. Roofs that are intelligent, capable of harvesting rainwater, producing energy, reduc-ing airborne dust or potentially growing crops are within the EROP strategy.

On behalf of the Icopal Group, Martin Ellis said of the BiELSo launch: “This initiative is a step in the direction of the future of energy conservation and environmental action.”

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