Primary Data Collection and Environmental/Energy Audit of Hot Mix Asphalt Production
The development of the road construction sector determines the consequences on consumption of non-renewable resources, energy expenditure and environmental pollution. Recent sustainability issues have highlighted the importance of efficient design and quality-oriented techniques in this sector, due to the huge amount of materials involved in construction and maintenance activities. Thus, it is necessary to properly quantify the environmental impacts of asphalt mixtures used for pavement
... or pavement construction, considering the whole life cycle of the products. Life cycle assessment (LCA) represents the most appropriate methodological framework for assessing the environmental burdens of a product, from raw material acquisition to final disposal. A common problem for LCA is the lack of primary data useful to calculate the product eco-profile, for a specific production process. In this context, there is generally limited reliable and accurate data regarding the asphalt plant production phase, which represents the most critical phase. Consequently, the aim of this paper is to perform an environmental/energy audit of an asphalt plant and, further, to collect and analyze primary data useful for the definition of the eco-profile of 1 metric ton of hot mix asphalt (HMA), following a "gate to gate" approach, including transport. The asphalt production is examined in a Sicilian batch-mix plant, representing one of the most commonly used for asphalt production in the Italian context. The results are of interest for asphalt mixture producers, contractors, transportation agencies and researchers seeking to quantify asphalt pavement environmental impacts in Italy, based on context-related foreground data.