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Development of a Life Cycle Assessment Tool for Construction and Maintenance of Asphalt Pavements

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yongjian Huang, Roger Bird, Professor Oliver Heidrich


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The increasing use of recycled materials in asphalt pavements calls for environmental assessment of such impacts as the energy input and CO2 footprint. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is being accepted by the road industry for such purpose. It aims to quantify and collate all the environmental impacts from the life time of the product or process. This paper reviews relevant LCA resources worldwide, identifies the knowledge gap for the road industry, and describes the development of an LCA model for pavement construction and maintenance that accommodates recycling and up-to-date research findings. Details are provided of both the methodology and data acquisition. This is followed by a discussion of the challenges of applying LCA to the pavement construction practice, and recommendations for further work. In the case study, the model is applied to an asphalt paving project at London Heathrow Terminal-5 (LHR), in which natural aggregates were replaced with waste glass, incinerator bottom ash (IBA) and recycled asphalt pavements (RAP). Production of hot mix asphalt and bitumen was found to represent the energy intensive processes. This is followed by data analysis and sensitivity check. Further development of the model includes expanding the database to accommodate the recycling and maintenance practice in the UK, and taking into account the effect that roadwork has on traffic emissions. The LCA model can be further tested and calibrated as a decision support tool for sustainable construction in the road industry.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Huang Y, Bird RN, Heidrich O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Cleaner Production

Year: 2009

Volume: 17

Issue: 2

Pages: 283-296

ISSN (print): 0959-6526

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2008.06.005


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