Port of Rotterdam


Rotterdam has taken its next step on the path towards a circular economy with a project that uses 100% recycled asphalt.


New life to old asphalt

Rotterdam has taken its next step on the path towards a circular economy with a project that uses 100% recycled asphalt. This renewed asphalt was used to construct the subbase, base course and surface layer of the paving for one of the city’s bike paths. The recycled asphalt matches existing asphalt in terms of quality – which means this innovation presents both economic and ecological advantages. The invention is the fruit of a solid Rotterdam-based partnership.

The more closely innovative parties work together, the more momentum and impact the circular economy will get. This project with recycled, sustainable asphalt in Rotterdam is a case in point. The Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Municipality of Rotterdam entered into a partnership with KWS Infra and Arizona Chemical. The two latter firms have developed a ground-breaking method to give new life to old asphalt. By adding a biobased ‘rejuvenator’ produced by Arizona Chemical, the properties of recovered asphalt can be restored to their original specs. The raw material for this product is obtained from by-products of pine trees used in the paper industry.

In addition, asphalt that is due to be replaced or that has become redundant is sorted locally and re-used somewhere else in the city. A circular solution that can give recycled asphalt from south Rotterdam a new life in north Rotterdam, for example.

Circular cycling

Rotterdam Alderman Pex Langenberg (whose portfolio includes Sustainability) is very pleased with the rejuvenated asphalt: “It’s a wonderful circular process that results in asphalt that can be used for a large number of roads in the city and the port,” according to Langenberg. Asphalt that is no longer used or that is up for replacement is sorted in Rotterdam and used on new municipal projects. As a result, cyclists can currently ride on this cutting-edge asphalt in the Merwe-Vierhavens (M4H) sub-area of the innovative Stadshavens Rotterdam project. In late 2014 M4H was adopted as a so-called ‘Lab op Straat’ (‘Street Lab’): a testing and demonstration area where the private sector, knowledge institutes and government authorities work together to create a more sustainable port city. This 120-metre-long street is dotted with innovations and circular activities. For example, the street is used to test innovative street furniture like an illuminated bench and a talking litter bin, as well as projects like this new sustainable road subbase and paving surface.

Intelligent road construction

KWS Infra (a VolkerWessels company) is responsible for constructing the renewed path along the Rotterdam Innovation District. The company has extensive experience in the development of sustainable and intelligent road construction solutions. For example, KWS Infra recently enjoyed strong international interest in its PlasticRoad concept: a road made from recycled plastic. Implementing these and other innovative ideas, KWS carefully monitors whether the new product satisfies the desired quality standards. The first test results for the recycled asphalt were positive. If these innovations meet the various requirements set for them, they will be introduced in other parts of Rotterdam.


Would you like to know more or visit our port? Please contact our Business Developer Energy and Industry Monique de Moel, mpm.moel@portofrotterdam.com

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