• India
  • Jun 20
  • Kevin Savio Antony

Production of bitumen using biomass

• The Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) is set to partner with the Indian Institute of Petroleum in Dehradun to build a 1-kilometer stretch of road using bio-bitumen.

• If this pilot project proves successful, it could lead to the technology being commercialised and transferred to private companies or public sector enterprises for the large-scale production of bio-bitumen, which would then be used in the construction of national highways.

• Currently, India imports about half of its annual bitumen needs.

What is bitumen?

• Bitumen is a black or dark-coloured material that can be solid, semi-solid, or viscous.

• It is amorphous and cementitious.

Forms of bitumen:

• Found in rock asphalt, natural bitumen, tar.

• Derived from oil as petroleum bitumen.

Formation of bitumen:

• Originates more than 360 million years ago during the Carboniferous period.

• Giant swamp forests with many microscopic organisms contributed to its formation.

• Decay of these organisms led to coal deposits.

• Sediment layers accumulated and transformed under heat and pressure, creating bituminous coalfields.

Natural deposits:

• Present in countries like Canada, Venezuela, and Oman.

• Known as oil sands, consisting of a mixture of sand, clay, water, and dense bitumen.

Applications of bitumen:

• Construction Industry: Widely used for roads and highways due to its waterproofing and adhesive properties.

• Marine Industry: Employed to waterproof boats and other marine vessels.

• Roofing Products: Utilised by companies to create and manufacture roofing materials.

• Building Materials: Used for sealing and insulating in various building materials, including carpet tile backing and paint.

(The author is a trainer for Civil Services aspirants.)

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