Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Recycled-Materials Based Bio-asphalt(17864)

United Environment and Energy LLC


Each year, about 0.15 quadrillion BTUs are consumed in asphalt plants in the U.S. This is in addition to the energy used to produce asphalt in refinery plants. Further, the use of petroleum-based asphalt for pavement produces odor and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, which adversely affect human health. Approximately 500 million gallons of waste cooking oils are generated annually in the U.S., and are available at a low cost. America’s coal-fired power plants produce more than 71 million tons of fly ash annually, and approximately 60% of the ash is disposed of in landfills or surface impoundments.

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Project Description

The objective of this Phase I project is to prove the feasibility of a novel bio-asphalt manufacturing technology using waste cooking oils and fly ash. Optimal bio-asphalt production conditions -- including the- oils-to-fly-ash ratio, the type of waste cooking oils and fly ash, and the polymerization temperature and time -- will be determined and an analysis of economic, energy and environmental benefits will be conducted.


Potential benefits of this technology include significant energy savings of up to 15%, reduction in CO2 emissions, and the significant reduction in production costs by switching to waste cooking oils and fly ash.

Project Results

Fly ash was used to catalyze the polymerization of waste cooking oils. The fly ash is both a catalyst and main component of the bio-asphalt. Phase I determined optimal bio-asphalt production conditions, including oil to fly ash ratio, types of waste cooking oils and fly ash, polymerization temperature and time, and effect of air quality. The bio-asphalt produced under optimal conditions was tested and compared with petroleum asphalt. Analyses of the energy, economic, and environmental benefits were conducted. The bio-asphalt showed promising results for the substitution of petroleum-based asphalt. Bio-asphalt can be blended with traditional asphalt and can be used for hot mix asphalt production. The base asphalt and percentage of bio-asphalt can be adjusted to produce a product for different application conditions. No leaching of heavy metals was observed. Commercial success will result in a bio-asphalt product that will add value to the recycled waste cooking oils and power plant fly ash. Based on a 12 year paving cycle for New York State highways, 2 million tons of bio-asphalt will be needed annually to totally replace the use of petroleum asphalt. Potential energy savings for New York State is 1.5 million MMBtu annually, with an economic impact of $1.3 billion in revenue (at the May 2011 asphalt price of $628/ton). By reducing energy consumption, CO2 will be reduced by 150,000 tons, and odors and VOC emissions from the petroleum-based pavement will be eliminated.


United Environment and Energy LLC
111 Ridge Rd
Horseheads, NY 14845

Principle Investigator

Ben Wen

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Demonstration

Technologies Types:

Industrial Products
Advanced Materials

NYSERDA Contact Information

Miriam Pye


R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr

Contract Details

Start Date: 5/14/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 17864

Last Updated: 7/30/2014