LIFE BATTLE-CO2 - Biomass incorporation in AsphalT manufacturing Towards Less Emissions of CO2

LIFE14 CCM/ES/000404

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Contact details:

Contact person: José Ramón Perán
Tel: 34983548818
Fax: 34983546521
Email: external@cartif.es

Project description:


The technical and economic feasibility, as well as the environmental desirability, of substituting fossil fuels in asphalt mix manufacturing plants needs to be demonstrated. Specifically, the three main processes from which emissions are generated aggregate drying, bitumen heating and electricity generation would be improved by the use of alternative fuels.


The LIFE BATTLE-CO2 project aimed to demonstrate the incorporation of biomass as an alternative fuel in asphalt mix manufacturing. The project planned to develop a new plant configuration, establishing an almost fossil-fuel-free manufacturing process for asphalt mixes, reducing 95% the use of fossil fuels in the asphalt plant. The use of diesel and fuel oil would be avoided in the thermal energy processes in the plant (aggregates and bitumen heating). Biomass incorporation and the reduction of other contaminants associated with the combustion of fossil fuels would significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The project planned to thus optimise the use of biomass and reduce the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process and the lifecycle of the asphalt mix product.

Tests would be carried out to evaluate the quality of the new products by laying down different asphalt mixes at a construction site for example. The aim was to demonstrate the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of the new manufacturing process. Finally, the project planned to develop a protocol for generating the Product Category Rules (PCRs) for a new Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for asphalt mixes that will allow other companies to calculate their environmental impacts, easing the deployment of green public procurement in the road construction and maintenance sector.


The LIFE BATTLE-CO2 project demonstrated the feasibility of using alternative and renewable energy sources (solid biomass) in asphalt plants, avoiding the use of fossil fuels in two very energy-demanding points of the process: aggregates (usually heated with fuel oil or natural gas) and bitumen heating (usually carried out with diesel).

Two prototypes for the use of biomass in these processes were installed in the asphalt plant of COLLOSA in Cubillas de Santa Marta, Valladolid: one prototype for the bitumen heating and one for the aggregate heating (rotary drum and burner). The plant became the first asphalt plant that can operate using both fossil fuels and biomass, including a mix of the two depending on the production needs. The mix of the two increases 25% of the production rate of the plant with nearly zero increase in the GHG emissions. This plant is able to manufacture asphalt mixtures using biomass as fuel for aggregates and bitumen heating with a production rate of 35 tonnes of asphalt per hour. Under this set-up, the amount of GHG emissions produced by the plant is reduced by more than 80%, saving nearly 25 kg CO2 per tonne of asphalt mixture manufactured. In the same way, the plant can operate using a mixture of both fuel sources, increasing its production capacity by 20% with no increase in GHG emissions.

The characteristics of the asphalt manufactured under the project were tested at two demonstration sites on two different roads in Spain. Up to 1 000 tonnes of asphalt were laid on the two road sections, confirming that the characteristics and properties of the produced asphalt are equivalent to conventional asphalts.

The project originally intended to demonstrate a third prototype using electricity generated from the thermal waste of the plant via the integration of an Organic Rankine Cycle system. However, the first analyses revealed that although technically feasible, the system was not cost effective, and it was therefore discarded.

The project has developed specific Product Category Rules for the asphalt mixtures following the ENVIRONDEC certification system. In this way, any company in the world has the option of following the protocols and communicate their environmental results in compliance with the standard ISO14025 (environmental label type III). Indeed, during the project COLLOSA obtained the first certification using this standard, becoming the first company with certified Environmental Product Declaration.

From an economic point of view, and based on the assessment developed by the project team, replacing fossil fuels with forest biomass for bitumen heating lead to interesting cost savings , depending on the price of the fuel. This lead to a return of investment of between 3.7 and 5.4 years. Similarly, and always depending on the cost of the fuel, replacing fossil fuels with wood pellets for aggregates heating can lead to return of investment of 2.3 years for wood chips and 9.6 years for wood pellets.

The project represented a change of mindset in the sector of asphalt manufacturing regarding energy supply and use of fossil fuels. The demonstration that the use of a renewable source of energy is a real option opens new opportunities for both the asphalt sector and the producers of biomass, with clear benefits in terms of energy consumption and reduction of GHG emissions, underlining the high demonstration character in a new context, the one within the civil works sector.

Coinciding with the end of the Project, the Ministry of Transportation, Mobility and Urban Agenda has adhered to the National Ecological Public Procurement plan, which specifically includes the Road sector.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Climate change Mitigation - GHG reduction in EU ETS sectors
Climate change Mitigation - Renewable energies


emission reduction‚  greenhouse gas‚  biomass energy‚  alternative material

Target EU Legislation

  • Industry and Product Policy
  • Directive 2010/75 - Industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (24.11.201 ...
  • Environmental management & assessment
  • Directive 2014/24 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC (26.02.2014)
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • Directive 2009/28 - Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (23.04.2009)
  • Directive 2009/29 - To improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of ...
  • Waste
  • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
  • COM(2014)398 - "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe" (02.07.2014)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Fundacin CARTIF
Type of organisation Research institution
Description CARTIF is a research centre covering a wide range of scientific disciplines. It has a staff of 200 researchers, revenues of €10 million and a client portfolio of 120 companies and institutions. CARTIF interdisciplinary teams work in five areas: industry, energy and environment, construction and infrastructures, agrofood and health.
Partners COLLOSA(Construcciones y Obras Llorente, S.A.U.), Spain PTC(Plataforma Tecnológica de la Carretera), Spain


Project reference LIFE14 CCM/ES/000404
Duration 01-OCT-2015 to 30-JUN -2019
Total budget 1,484,050.00 €
EU contribution 851,068.00 €
Project location Castilla-León(España)


Read more:

Leaflet "LIFE Battle CO2: Biomass incorporation in AsphalT ...
Poster "LIFE Battle CO2: Bases its strategy on abatement ...
Poster "LIFE Battle CO2: Biomass incorporation in AsphalT ...
Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter page
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan (Spanish version, wi ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version