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Novel Development of Bio-based Binder for Sustainable Construction

Project Information

Project ID: 
Project Status: 
Start Date: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
End Date: 
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
FHWA Program: 
Exploratory Advanced Research
FHWA Subprogram: 
Pavement and Materials
FHWA Topics: 
Research/Technologies--Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC)
TRT Terms: 
Asphalt; Binders; Direct costs; Environmental impacts; Epoxy resins; Lignin; Petroleum refining; Wastes
FHWA Discipline: 
Construction and Project Management, Environment, Financial Management, Pavement and Materials
TRB Subject Area: 
Environment, Materials, Research

Contact Information

First Name: 
Last Name: 
(202) 493-3090
Email Address: 
Infrastructure Materials Team
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Office Code: 

Project Details

Project Description: 

Traditional asphalt binder is residue obtained during the crude petroleum refining process. Increased environmental regulations that maximize fuel quantity while minimizing asphalt residue have increased the cost of asphalt in recent years: high oil price and tight asphalt supply have doubled the price of asphalt in the U.S. from $340 per ton to $750 per ton. In the alternative, about 3 billion gallons of waste cooking oil are produced each year, and waste cooking oils are available at a substantially lower cost ($0.06 per lb). The cost of bioasphalt, estimated at $164 per ton, is significantly lower than that of petroleum-based asphalt, which costs an average of $750 per ton (depending on the grade of asphlalt). To address these challenges, industries are seeking an alternative binder to replace or reduce the petroleum-based asphalt used in hot-mix asphalt. Because of concerns over dependence on foreign oil, high energy consumption, and climate change, nonpetroleum-based bioasphalt would be a plausible solution. The technology proposed in this research takes advantage of two value byproducts—waste cooking oil and lignin—and creatively converts them into a new product that is suitable for binding aggregates, thus lowering the price for the resultant commodity product. The aim of this research is to develop a 100 percent waste cooking oil-based bioasphalt modified with lignin-derived epoxy (LEP); the result would be a bioasphalt with performance superior to petroleum-based asphalt that can be produced at a lower cost with less destructive environmental impact.


Development of a 100 percent waste cooking oil-based bioasphalt modified with lignin-derived epoxy (LEP).


Deliverable Name: 
Deliverable Type: 
Research report or guidelines
Deliverable Description: 
Summary of Findings