At the InfraTech trade fair in Rotterdam, Rijkswaterstaat presented six cheques to Dura Vermeer, Heijmans, BAM (two entries), KWS and Strukton Civiel West. The construction companies received the awards for the solutions they submitted for sustainable asphalt. The competition for new sustainable asphalt mixes was organised to stimulate circular innovations and reduce CO2 emissions.

Application of the winning asphalt mixes ensures that Rijkswaterstaat will be able to reduce CO2 in the short term by 57% and achieve more than 50% re-use of asphalt. Rijkswaterstaat and the market are thus taking an important step towards achieving the government's climate targets for 2030 and enable the Netherlands to become a global leader in sustainable asphalt.

Different phases of market maturity
The competition had two categories: category 1 concerned nearly commercially viable innovations for new asphalt mixes which fulfil certain sustainability criteria. In this category, Dura Vermeer, Heijmans and BAM each received a cheque for 150,000 euros. Category 2 concerns innovations which are still in the lab to test section phase and which also need to fulfil more stringent sustainability requirements. BAM, KWS and Strukton Civiel West each received a cheque for 30,000 euros in this category.

Test section
This year, the winning entries in category 1 each receive a test section on the national road network. If the given reductions also prove feasible in practice, the path will be open to roll out these products throughout the road network of Rijkswaterstaat in the coming years. The three winning products in category 2 will undergo further tests this year. If the tests are positive in 2019, they will also be considered for construction on the road network of Rijkswaterstaat from 2020. All six products are no more expensive than the current asphalt. However, the companies will incur investment costs in the coming years in order to achieve the transition to sustainable asphalt.

Climate agreements
The competition is part of the Climate Envelope 2018 for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK), which the government set up to fulfil the climate agreements of Paris. With this envelope, EZK has commissioned Rijkswaterstaat to promote the reduction of CO2 in Civil and Hydraulic Engineering via asphalt and concrete. From the Climate Envelope, in 2019 Rijkswaterstaat will also continue to make funds available to the market to stimulate innovations for CO2 reduction in the Civil and Hydraulic Engineering sector. These incentive measures fit into the Asphalt Impulse programme. This programme for and by the sector aims to double the average lifespan of our asphalt roads, halving the distribution in lifespan and halving the CO2 production at equal or lower costs.

Launching customer and cooperation
Rijkswaterstaat aims to be fully climate neutral and working in a circular manner both in its own operations and in projects and acquisition in 2030. By acting as launching customer (using our own purchasing power), they stimulate the development and upscaling of innovations. By using the CO2 performance ladder and including sustainability requirements in the tenders, for example, they reward the leaders. By setting increasingly stringent requirements to the maximum environmental impact, they also take the peloton with them. They do this together with the market and other government authorities. We thus challenge each other to achieve the circular and climate targets faster.

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