Recochem’s Recosol 195 is the newest addition to its renewable plant-based performance fluids, which are helping to open new pathways for sustainable cold mix asphalt use and production across Australia.
Asphalt has always been a mainstay of the roads and infrastructure sectors. It’s use in wider society dates back to 625 B.C, where the ancient Greeks used the material as a sealer.
The word asphalt even originates from the Greek word “asphaltos,” meaning “secure” (Virginia Asphalt Association). But a lot has changed since then.
Recent developments have shed light on pathways to enhanced asphalt sustainability and performance capabilities, such as the introduction of bituminous additives.
Development of these products caught the eye of Recochem’s James McAllister over a decade ago.
After seeing the benefits of ‘Recosol 175’, sourced from South-East Asia, McAllister quickly saw the product’s potential for use in Australian applications.
“We initially thought that it was a really interesting product,” McAllister says. “Through one of my colleagues in South Australia, Recosol 175 got its first entry into Australia as a replacement for diesel in cold mix asphalt.”
Traditionally, diesel has been used within cold mix asphalt as a fluxing agent. The main aim of using diesel is to decrease the overall viscosity of the bitumen.
This enables contractors to use bitumen that’s at a workable level in standard ambient temperatures. Hence the term ‘cold mix asphalt’.
“Diesel has a flashpoint of around 65°C, which is well below the production temperature of cold mix asphalt that’s between 100 and 110°C,” McAllister says.
The flash point is the temperature in which a liquid can ignite, when exposed to an ignition source.
“I think a lot of people in the industry have encountered a scare from either fire or fumes using diesel in the production of cold mix asphalt,” McAllister says. “Diesel is also a suspected carcinogen. We tried Recosol 175 [with a major cold mix asphalt manufacturer] and they’re still using it today.
“One of the General Managers of [the asphalt manufacturer] announced that the company was no longer going to use diesel in its cold mixes for health and safety reasons.”
Following the successful implementation of Recosol 175, demand for the product soared.
“It actually gave us a bit of a headache as we didn’t have enough Recosol 175 to go around,” McAllister says.
“Within six to eight weeks we developed a new product in Australia called Recosol 185.”
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Recochem’s Recosol 185 looked to expand and improve on the successful Recosol 175, both in terms of performance and versatility.
“Recosol 185 has been used for the past five years in a multitude of applications, but still primarily in replacing diesel in cold mixes,” McAllister says.
“It’s also found its way in uses like lubricating skips and conveyors in the asphalt plant. It’s also been used as a slip lubricant for asphalt trucks.”
Recosol 185 shares a lot of similarities with Recochem’s newest addition in the Recosol family, the Recosol 195.
A spiritual successor
Recochem’s new Recosol 195 marks the next era for the company’s safe and sustainable offerings.
“The Recosol 195 has evolved. It’s not too dissimilar to Recosol 185, but it’s a pure product. It’s got slight advantages in lower odour, as well as the cleanliness as the product is almost colourless, compared to the ‘amber brown’ like colour of the Recosol 185,” McAllister says.
“Just like Recosol 185 it’s Non-VOC (no Volatile Organic Carbon). It’s biodegradable, it comes from a renewable source.”
McAllister says Recosol 195 has a proof of sustainability certificate, issued by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC). He says a product like Recosol 195 can support organisations’ push towards achieving improved sustainability outcomes.
“The major contractors can achieve their environmental objectives. A lot of contractors who were using Recosol 185 were achieving environmental awards. It’s also a bit more legitimate to be able to show proof of sustainability [with the ISCC certification],” McAllister says.
Recosol 195 can also be implemented into the rejuvenation of recycled asphalt pavement for blending purposes.
On top of sustainable benefits, Recosol 195 provides benefits to worker safety, as well as a reduced odour when compared to the use of diesel as a fluxing agent.
“There’s also a much higher flashpoint (170°C). The proof is in the pudding with it being considered non-hazardous according to SafeWork Australia,” McAllister says.
“A lot of companies talk about the safety of their employees as well as their contractors’ part of their mission statements. Using products like Recosol 195 is moving towards that continual improvement that they’re trying to achieve.
“You really want a complete safety net, not just for cold mix production (between 100-110°C), some of the other applications in the bitumen and asphalt industry are 200°C and over. So, it’s very important that you’re using a product that is going to work and uphold the safety of those operators.”
McAllister says that Recosol 195 provides benefits not just for the short term, but also for potentially generations to come.
“Even after all these years later, I’m still hearing how the Recosol products are working day in and day out. Recosol 195 will do the same thing,” he says.
This article was originally published in the July edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.