Omsk Oil Refinery (Gazpromneft-ONPZ) has hosted a meeting to discuss the production and use of polymer-bitumen binders (PBBs) and emulsified bitumens for motor roads in Western Siberia.
Executives and experts of bitumen materials departments from Gazprom Neft, Gazpromneft-ONPZ, Federal State Agency Sibupravtodor, SIBUR and Omsky SoyuzDorNII, as well as experts in the production of PBBs and emulsified bitumens gathered to discuss the prospects of this business.
Gazprom Neft presented its plans to develop the bitumen business and the production of new-generation PBBs and emulsified bitumens. In particular, the company is now actively involved in launching the production of PBBs and emulsified bitumen at the Omsk Refinery. According to the plan, SIBUR will become the major vendor of polymer feedstock for the refinery, and road construction companies in different regions of Siberia will become its main customers.
“Gazprom Neft is focused on the quality of its products and does a lot to make sure these products meet the customers’ expectations,” stated Vladimir Kandrashkin, Bitumen Materials Manager for Gazprom Neft. “We chose the Omsk Refinery as a playground for the PBB and emulsified bitumen pilot project because the plant can guarantee the quality of feedstock used in the production of bitumen materials – the products that are used in road construction and designed to prolong the life of roads.”
Alexander Meling, CEO of Gazpromneft–Omsk Refinery (Gazpromneft-ONPZ), said foreign equipment for the PBB and emulsified bitumen production has already been delivered to Omsk. The company expects the refinery to start production of high-quality PBBs and emulsified bitumens in August or September 2010.
The meeting attendants outlined the key aspects of further cooperation in using PBBs and emulsified bitumen in road construction and walked down the bitumen production facilities of Omsk Oil Refinery.
Polymer-bitumen binder (PBB) is a binder based on viscous paving bitumen with a polymer additive (CBC block copolymer) and a plasticizer.
A polymer is added to bitumen to control the bitumen’s physical and mechanical properties. Thermoplastic elastomers are used to produce a binder with predetermined melting and brittle temperatures (resulting in a wider plasticity range), increased elasticity (ability for stronger reversible strain after a load is removed) and stable deterioration parameters.
Compared to viscous bitumen, PBB shows better quality characteristics:
- Higher deformation resistance
- Improved reliability in extreme low and high temperatures
- Improved cohesion and adhesion
- Higher resistance to loads and fatigue
- Improved deterioration resistance.
A major advantage of PBBs versus standard bitumen in road concrete mix is 60% lower in annual maintenance/repair costs.
Emulsified bitumen is water emulsion of fine bitumen particles (1-6 microns). The emulsion contains as much as 70% of the binding agent (bitumen) and is essentially a thin homogeneous dark-brown liquid.
The USA and European states have been using the emulsion technology for many decades. Emulsions are used to replace the outdated methods of finishing the road surface with bitumen.
Emulsified bitumens show some significant advantages:
- Save 30-40% of bitumen
- Do not require heating before use → 1.5 times less power consumption and man-hours
- Fully adhere to road bed
- Almost as fluid as water – spreads very thin (less than one millimeter) on the surface and fills all pores and ridges
- Can be coated on top of wet surfaces, which allows road construction to progress from early spring until late autumn
- Water in the emulsion allows operations with mineral materials characterized by natural humidity.