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Major partnership to support research on applications that integrate recycled glass in road construction

The research team expects that the glass integrated in asphalt will improve drainage and insulation qualities.
The research team expects that the glass integrated in asphalt will improve drainage and insulation qualities.

The École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), City of Montréal, Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) and RECYC-QUÉBEC have released the details of a major partnership to support research on innovative applications that integrate recycled glass in road construction.

This common commitment will provide ÉTS with $450,000 in funding over three years to conduct studies and laboratory tests on road infrastructure. The Mitacs-Accélération intern program will contribute $220,000 more to that amount. The research project will focus on developing materials that are more durable and environmentally friendly while giving a second life to the glass containers Quebecers place in recycling bins. Test slabs offered by the City of Montréal will allow for evaluating the performance of asphalt mixes containing recycled glass.

"The joint ÉTS, SAQ, City of Montréal, ÉEQ and RECYC-QUÉBEC project is an initiative that demonstrates Quebec's expertise in addressing climate change. Integrating glass in road component manufacturing is a concrete solution towards lowering GHG emissions and adapting our actions to the impact transportation has on climate change. That is why I am supporting this innovative and distinctive Québec project. We are proud to encourage green innovation in transportation," said Robert Poëti, Minister of Transport and Minister responsible for the Montréal region.

A durable solution for better roads and lower GHG

"At ÉTS, we put engineering at the service of industry: over 60% of our research funds come from partnerships with public, private and non-profit organizations, which is quite rare in the academic field. This initiative is yet another in the series, and we are very proud to participate in the development of concrete solutions to several environmental, economic and social challenges," said Pierre Dumouchel, General Manager of ÉTS.

In this project, Michel Vaillancourt and collaborators Alan Carter and Daniel Perraton, all professors at École de technologie supérieure, will look into how post-consumer glass components affect the performance of asphalt mixes and other materials used in road construction.

The research team expects that the glass integrated in asphalt will improve drainage and insulation qualities, therefore resulting in a longer service life for our roads. In addition, at the end of the project, ÉTS expects that integrating glass will help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated during asphalt manufacturing. Those are only a few of the points currently under study by the ÉTS research team.

A common vision for greener road infrastructures

"The City of Montréal is pleased to cooperate with ÉTS in this applied research project to integrate recycled glass. Using post-consumer materials as environmentally-friendly components to improve construction material performance is a priority for our Administration. Dealing with climate change and greenhouse gases requires a range of actions, and making new materials with recycled glass is a very promising avenue. We are proud to offer financial support and test slabs to try out these new materials," remarked Lionel Perez, City of Montréal Executive Committee Member in charge of infrastructures, the Commission des Services Électriques, governance and democracy and governmental relations.

"We are pleased to encourage Quebec engineers and participate in finding local solutions to handling all the glass in circulation in the province. We are confident that this new research project will not only develop into another ecological solution for processing all types of glass recovered via curbside recycling, but also improve the quality of our roads," stated Alain Brunet, President and CEO of the Société des alcools du Québec. "We have a common vision, the willingness and, especially, the know-how. Working together with such partners as ÉTS, ÉEQ, the City of Montréal and RECYC-QUÉBEC, we can innovate and find sustainable solutions."

"At ÉEQ, we cooperate with all stakeholders in the curbside recycling value chain to ensure smooth operations and encourage the development of innovative ideas for using recycled materials," said Denis Brisebois, Chairman of Éco Entreprises Québec's Board of Directors. "As a type of mass transit for recyclable materials, curbside recycling collects over 77% of the 192,000 tonnes of glass containers generated by Quebecers every year. That is why we are delighted to support this research project to give a second life to the glass citizens place in their recycling bins."

"This partnership is in direct alignment with our objectives. RECYC-QUÉBEC endeavours to prioritize innovative solutions applicable to the residual material value chain and support industry in developing market outlets. We are proud to contribute to innovative projects designed to both broaden our knowledge base and help create durable market outlets for glass collected via curbside recycling. Glass recycling is an important aspect of dealing with climate change and the depletion of non-renewable resources," added Dany Michaud, President and CEO of RECYC-QUÉBEC.

ÉTS plans on testing its new asphalt mixes on Montréal test slabs in 2017. 

For a sneak peak at the work being carried out in the lab, see a short video of ÉTS students working on the research project.

A data sheet was also developed to outline the research project.

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