Recently, the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) collaborated with the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun to construct a 1 km road stretch using Bio-Bitumen

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  • This project is funded by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India.
  • Currently, India imports approximately half of its annual bitumen requirement. In the last fiscal year, India imported 3.21 million tonnes of bitumen while indigenous bitumen production stood at 5.24 million tonnes.
  • The government aims to replace imports of bitumen with bio-bitumen over the next decade.
  • The government is focusing on various alternatives for road construction, including recyclable waste material and molasses.

Significance of the project

  • This project paved the way for the commercialization and transfer of the technology to private entities or public sector enterprises for the mass production of bio-bitumen, which will be utilized in the construction of national highways.
  • This initiative is expected to result in significant foreign exchange savings, and make India self-sufficient in bio-bitumen production.
  • It provides a solution to the persistent problem of stubble burning

What is bio-bitumen?

  • It is a viscous, sticky substance extracted from crude oil and is used to bind the surfaces of paved roads.
  • According to Eurobitume, every year the European Union produces around 15 million tonnes of bitumen. 
  • For road construction, sticky bitumen is mixed with aggregates such as crushed rock, sand, and gravel to create asphalt, which binds it all together to build roads.
  • It is an important material used as an asphalt binder for road construction and other paved areas.
  • Bitumen is a sustainable construction material, has a minimal environmental impact during its use/service phase, and, as an asphalt binder, is entirely reusable.

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