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Technical

So far, there have been no indications – either during the trial projects or internal tests based on heavy precipitation or high water levels – that the elements will float to the surface. To minimise this potential risk, the CCL elements are fitted with side strips along the floor of the structure. These extensions increase soil resistance, which effectively prevents an element from being pushed to the surface.

The connectors have been designed so that the elements all lie on a single horizontal plane, with no height differences whatsoever between the individual elements. In addition, the connectors themselves are recessed, with a minimised surface and joints. In addition, we have further improved the connectors’ design based on the results of our trials in Zwolle, Giethoorn and Mexico City – increasing driving comfort even further.

PlasticRoad sets very strict requirements for the connectors of the CCL elements. They should not only firmly link the different elements but also have a certain degree of elasticity that allows them to accommodate expansion and contraction. The connectors also ensure that the road surface remains level. In addition, they shouldn’t impede the swift replacement of elements where required. And finally, they need to be manufactured according to a fully circular production process. After numerous designs, calculations, prototypes and field tests, we were able to develop a unique connector that satisfies each of these requirements. This connector was subsequently developed further, based on input from the trials in Zwolle, Giethoorn and Mexico City. The result is a robust yet user-friendly design – one that furthermore simplifies the installation of the road itself. What’s more: using a specially developed attachment, elements can be removed without actually damaging the connector. This means that elements can be fully recycled at the end of their service life.

Apart from a hard-wearing coating designed especially for the PlasticRoad, the elements remain fully immersed in the soil below. This wearing course prevents the structure from releasing microplastics, since it is completely shielded from direct contact with road traffic. Consequently, its plastic isn’t subject to wear. Moreover, the plastic is protected from sunlight, so it does not degrade due to UV exposure. This contributes to the product’s long useful service life. During the production phase, we follow a strict quality assurance plan in which we minimise stocks and only expose the materials to UV radiation for very limited periods. We constantly monitor the structural strength of our system in our different trial projects. So far, the readings give no indication that the CCL structure has been weakened in any way.

Thanks to a specially developed coating made from a thin layer of aggregate, the surface of the CCL series has the same friction properties as conventional paving. The CCL series amply satisfies the criteria for a Skid Resistance Tester (SRT) value of ‘Highly resistant’, as well as complying with the NEN 7909 standard for skid resistance. While the road may appear very smooth during cold weather, it still satisfies this NEN 7909 standard, meaning you can cycle, drive or walk across it without any fear of slipping – as borne out by this independent field test.

If you listen carefully, cycling along a CCL road sounds different to what you expect to hear on an asphalt bike path. Compared to an asphalt bike path, one made using CCL elements produces a slightly hollow sound. This has to do with the cavity under the surface, which is used for a number of functions, including rainwater storage. So far, none of the users in PlasticRoad’s trial projects indicated that they found this sound unpleasant. Likewise, we did not register any noise nuisance in our internal trial project in Utrecht, which was used every day by cars driving at a maximum speed of 30km/h. Based on these results, we can conclude that the sound produced by light traffic on a CCL road falls well below nuisance levels.

The applications that we will initially be focussing on all fall within this ‘light use’ category – meaning we do not expect them to lead to noise nuisance. In fact, PlasticRoad presents new opportunities: today’s asphalt technology is edging closer and closer to optimal structures for minimised sound. The CCL programme offers ample room for experimenting with optimised sound reduction through the application of extruded, printed or moulded structures. Noise/vibrations could potentially also be used to generate energy. Assuming that our CCL series will ultimately expand to include motorway applications, minimising noise nuisance will be an important spearhead in our research and production activities.

Thanks to the comprehensive solution offered by our infrastructure products and the long service life and modular format of their components, our CCL solutions are considerably more appealing in terms of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than conventional programmes. The CCL elements are virtually maintenance-free and take 70% less time to install and maintain than conventional infrastructure. Moreover, the products require 80% less transport movements and up to 75% less raw materials for their manufacture.

In principle, a road made using CCL elements has the same maintenance regime as a regular tarmacked road, with the same associated costs. A CCL road will also need to be de-iced and cleaned on occasion, and its storm drains cleared as required. However, CCL elements are often more economical than conventional solutions in terms of upkeep (major maintenance).

The substructure of the CCL elements has a technical service life of 50 years. The wearing course is expected to last for 20 years, although this estimate still needs to be confirmed in practice. This expected lifespan is based on multiple tests, as well as practical experience gained by PlasticRoad over the years. It is further substantiated by:

  • The results of the trial projects and data collected via the installed sensors. These indicate an excellent performance that is in line with expectations.
    • The results of extensive lifespan tests that were performed both internally and by third parties.

    • Lifespan tests in a lab setting (Netherlands Aerospace Centre)
    • Static pressure tests at Wavin T&I
    • Finite element analyses
    • Field tests of the elements’ lifespan in partnership with the University of Limoges (AVRUL)
  • FEM analyses/calculation models based on test results.
  • Wavin’s years of experience and extensive expertise in the field of plastic products.
  • The production process. The manufacture of all PlasticRoad elements as prefab parts under controlled conditions enables strict quality assurance.

The CCL series already presents a unique paving solution for bike paths, parking spaces, pavements and footpaths, schoolyards, football cage and playgrounds, residential streets and platforms.

We have learned a great deal from our pilot projects in Giethoorn, Zwolle and Mexico City. Based on these experiences, we have continued to develop the concept to encapsulate alternative, and increasingly high-grade, applications. By adapting the design, we have succeeded in making the CCL elements 2.5 times stronger than the version used in the pilot projects.

In the longer term, we will continue to explore new possible applications – including through roads, distributor roads, motorways and airfields. If you are considering an application that is not included in this list, feel free to contact us so we can discuss the options.

The markings on the CCL elements in our pilot projects still look fine – and we have no reason to believe they won’t hold up as planned. The markings are made using proven technology, which has been especially developed further for the PlasticRoad product range in collaboration with Smits Neuchâtel Infrastructuur. This has also been tested in the lifespan tests.

PlasticRoad’s CCL elements can be purchased and installed by any contractor. It is important when installing the road elements to do this carefully and correctly. As a company, we support contractors in this process. We believe that every contractor should be able to independently source and install CCL elements. Upon delivering our products, we provide both the contractor and the end client with construction, maintenance and warranty instructions, as well as a custom layout plan that includes clear instructions on how to install the system.

Thanks to the elements’ modular structure, low weight and detachable connections, construction and maintenance, CCL elements are significantly simpler, more efficient and up to 70% faster to construct and maintain than conventional road structures. Individual elements are very simple to detach, and the wearing course is also attached with a snap connection, meaning it can easily be lifted for maintenance work. Since the subsoil remains simple to access, locating cables below the surface is a relatively straightforward affair.

CCL elements can be realised in a range of dimensions, both in terms of width and length. For example, individual elements have a minimum length of 1.20 m, and a minimum width of 0.60 m. Elements have a maximum length of 2.40 m. The maximum width per element is 3.60 m. Width can be stepped up or down in increments of 0.60 metre (0.60; 1.20; 1.80; 2.40, 3.00, 3.60). A 6-metre-wide bike path can be realised by linking two 3-metre CCL elements. This method enables a huge range of different widths and lengths.

A site needs to satisfy a number of conditions to be suited for the installation of CCL elements:

  • A minimum groundwater level of 0.60 cm below ground level..
  • A properly profiled and compacted sand bed of at least 30 to 50 cm. The sand used in the sand bed has to have the correct hydraulic conductivity (K value).
  • In the case of a clay soil, the site also needs to have drainage system installed.
  • The elements need to be installed with the aid of a vacuum unit. This can be done using a mobile crane or an articulated loader. Before work starts on installing the CCL elements, the contractor will be provided with instructions listing the necessary points of attention during construction.
  • The current CCL series does not include road bends. This means that for the moment, you can only realise straight stretches with this system.

Sustainability

Based on visual inspections of the cavities with the aid of cameras, we concluded that animals do not pose a risk. If vermin nevertheless manage to enter the elements’ cavities some way, they are unlikely to cause any damage. The base material of the CCL, polypropylene, is a hard plastic. Rodents aren’t particularly interested in gnawing this material.

During the trials in Zwolle and Giethoorn, we conducted 18 months’ worth of visual inspections to establish whether vermin started nesting in the installed bike paths. The underground cavities were inspected with the aid of cameras. Based on these visual inspections, we concluded that the elements were not occupied by vermin at any time. The geotextile ensures that the elements’ cavities remain free of soil, roots – and, as it turns out, vermin.

We have performed a variety of tests to demonstrate to which extent the CCL elements can be considered flammable. The results show that in general, the CCL elements have a very low flammability score – which is even lower in the case of the wearing course. The system was designed to be highly fire-resistant, so road users will have more time to respond in the event of a calamity. In terms of fire safety, the system offers a minimal risk compared to other paving types.

The CCL elements are covered with a special coating, which protects the plastic against wear by passing road traffic. This prevents microplastics from being released into the environment. Moreover, the CCL elements can be fitted with an infiltration textile and filter system, which helps to capture grit and purify water that is collected in the underground cavities.

In addition to plastic, the CCL elements’ top coating includes a small amount of mineral aggregate (crushed rock) to ensure it has the required friction properties. The wearing course also contains a modest amount of glass fibre, which is necessary to make it both rugged and lightweight.

All the recycled plastic used in the PlasticRoad programme is 100% waste plastics, known as post-consumer mixed waste. This waste comes from various sources in Europe. We are working to set up an entirely local cycle, based on local waste flows – allowing us to raise the sustainability of our production process even further. Based on current production principles, we can cut CO₂ emissions during the manufacture of the CCL elements by up to 72% compared to conventional paving structures.

The recycled plastic used in our CCL elements is 100% polypropylene (PP), a clean plastic that does not release any hazardous components into the environment, and that is strong enough to serve as a reliable base material for our infrastructure solutions. PP is used for a wide range of products, including festival mugs, cosmetics packaging, bottle caps, margarine tubs, plastic straws, furniture and a variety of car parts. Our plastic is made from household waste, which would otherwise often be incinerated or end up in a landfill.

Unfortunately, the world has a surplus of plastic waste. Every year, we consume over 350 million tonnes of plastic, and plastic production continues to increase. Most of these plastics are incinerated or dumped at the end of their service life. Worldwide less dan 20% of the plastic used in new plastic applications comes from recycling. PlasticRoad aims to do something about this: our CCL solution enables us to give large volumes of plastic waste a new life in a circular, high-grade application.

In terms of sustainability, three key features set PlasticRoad’s CCL solution apart from conventional road systems:

  1. The use of recycled municipal waste: 100% of the polypropylene (PP) used during manufacture is recycled plastic waste. Discarded plastic items, which up to now are mainly processed as waste (either being incinerated or ending up in a landfill), are fed back into the chain in a far higher grade application: as base material for a CCL element. The result is a significantly smaller carbon footprint – as also verified by the independent certification agency Kiwa. CO₂ emissions are cut by up to 72%.
  2. The circular elements: our products are made according to the Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy. At the end of its useful service life, the entire CCL element – apart from its glass fibre geotextile and wearing course – can be recycled into a new element. In other words, the concept makes a tangible contribution to the development of a circular economy. And the construction of a CCL road puts far less pressure on the surrounding area and the environment than conventional infrastructure solutions.
  3. Since it can be laid directly on the sand bed, this plastic infrastructure – in contrast with traditional paving – no longer requires a separate foundation. Moreover, this road type does not need a subbase, meaning this heavy structure does not have to be produced beforehand. Building a road with CCL elements rather than conventional paving can cut transport runs by a full 80%.

PlasticRoad’s CCL300 solution is a so-called smart road. Its underground cavities have been fitted with various SMART sensors. These measure everything from the current load on the road surface, the number of traffic movements and the road’s local temperature to water levels in the underground cavity. These sensors make the management and maintenance of this infrastructure even simpler. They allow you to digitally monitor the local conditions of your road surface and water drainage system. In effect, your road indicates when it is time to schedule new maintenance. The sensors offer real-time insight into various aspects, for example: how the structure bends under specific combination of loads and temperature, or the current water level. They also measure how quickly water levels in the cavities subside after a rain shower. We use this data to take more effective and better substantiated decisions in the on-going development of our products.

Product & company

PlasticRoad B.V. was established on 1 January 2020 as an independent private limited liability company (besloten vennootschap) holding its registered office in Vianen (Utrecht), with a production facility in Hardenberg (Overijssel). The companies VolkerWessels and Wavin, which both have a 50% interest in the new firm, believe in the huge potential of PlasticRoad’s CCL solution and see the formation of an independent company as a logical step in the scaling up of its operations.

Questions, price quotes, press requests, etc are henceforth handled by PlasticRoad B.V. rather than its parent companies Wavin, VolkerWessels or KWS.

Wavin is world market leader in the area of plastic piping systems. Wavin manufactures and supplies piping systems for the safe distribution of drinking water and gas, the sustainable management of rainwater and wastewater, the heating and cooling of buildings and various electrical and industrial applications. Wavin is Europe’s leading plastic pipeline manufacturers when it comes to processing used and collected PVC.

Its position as market leader in the recycling of plastics and specialist manufacturer of plastic rainwater drainage products makes Wavin the perfect partner for the design, improvement and manufacture of PlasticRoad products. Almost immediately after KWS went in search of partners for the PlasticRoad initiative in 2015, Wavin proved an enthusiastic supporter of the concept. It moved on to join the venture as a partner, and ultimately became a shareholder in PlasticRoad b.v. together with VolkerWessels.

In 2013, Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma embarked on a quest within KWS to develop a new approach to road construction – one that effectively addresses the challenges of the 21st century. Over 100 years after Hendrik Boesewinkel revolutionised Dutch road construction by taking the first steamroller into operation, KWS presented a concept that will allow the sector to once again enter a new phase. Jorritsma and Koudstaal arrived at their concept after reflecting on the existing and future challenges faced both by municipalities, provinces, water boards and contractors and by KWS itself: plastic waste, extreme precipitation, subsidence, a growing need for transport, soil that needs to accommodate a growing range of functions and increasingly stringent infrastructure regulations. KWS also observed that clients themselves set more and more requirements for their roads: a longer useful service life, shorter construction times, less maintenance, stricter sustainability requirements and a more attractive business case. The search for solutions to these challenges inspired the development of the PlasticRoad concept. While you may move quicker on your own, you can actually travel farther together – which is why KWS has also entered into several strategic partnerships in order to further develop the product line. Drawing on its in-house expertise, Wavin has contributed various crucial features that helped transform the basic concept into a real-life product. Marcel Jager and his team bear responsibility for this part of the venture.

PlasticRoad’s CCL series is a comprehensive paving solution that pays close attention to sustainability, circularity, climate adaptation and road management. The CCL paving elements, which are made from recycled plastic (polypropylene), include underground cavities that can be used for a variety of purposes. Examples include storing excess rainwater, as a conduit for cables and pipelines, road heating, generating power, accommodating sensors, etc. The elements are manufactured as prefab units and are fully recyclable. They also come with a materials passport. CCL elements can be used to construct bike paths, footpaths, parking spaces, pavements, schoolyards and game courts, platforms – even a complete residential street.

Our current CCL programme comprises two variants: CCL300 and CCL200. Check out our product page for further details on these two versions.

PlasticRoad’s sustainable, circular and climate-adaptive products offer a comprehensive solution, which allows space to be used for multiple purposes at the same time. Thanks to the components’ long service life and modular format, our CCL solutions are considerably more appealing in terms of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than conventional solutions. The CCL elements are virtually maintenance-free and take 70% less time to install and maintain than conventional infrastructure. Moreover, the products require 80% less transport movements and up to 75% less raw materials for their manufacture. These low-maintenance elements cut CO₂ emissions by up to 72% compared to conventional road structures. With a mass of less than 43 kg per m², they rank as the lightest paving structure in the world.

Feel free to contact our sales consultant, to jointly discuss which CCL variant and options would be best suited to your infrastructure needs.

Multi-purpose use of the available space

We deal with a wide range of challenges in the public space. Space today is scarce and comes at a mounting cost. The CCL elements can accommodate multiple functions in a single unit, enabling planners to arrange public space in new – and more efficient – ways. Our products present a comprehensive solution for paving, water storage and drainage, traffic monitoring with SMART sensors and even underground cables.

Sustainable and circular design

We give municipal plastic waste – most of which is still incinerated or ends up in a landfill – a new life as a raw material for our products. In a high-grade, fully circular application that is based on 100% recycled polypropylene. At the end of their useful service life, all plastic parts can be recycled as a base material for new CCL elements. These low-maintenance elements cut CO₂ emissions by up to 72% compared to conventional road structures.

Climate-adaptive

We are experiencing more and more extended dry spells, alternated with heavy rainfall. This results in water shortages and soil subsidence in the public space, which in turn lead to structural damage, high maintenance costs and other expenses. The CCL series can be used to collect rainwater, which gradually infiltrates into the local subsoil after the shower. The collected water can also be filtered during this process. This local infiltration contributes to a natural water cycle and counters aridification. The elements’ integrated water storage cavities have a capacity of 300 litres per m².

Simple to construct, manage and maintain

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