Warwickshire-based Nu-Phalt has developed an alternative infra-red road-repair system, which produces a heat-sealed repair with limited need for new material. The system is cheaper, quicker and less disruptive than traditional methods and produces repairs of higher quality, says the company. It also slashes carbon emissions associated with road repairs. Rarely can environmental improvements claim such all-round benefits. The judges praised Nu-Phalt as a glowing example of eco-innovation.
Most (94%) of the asphalt covering Britain's roads is made up of sand and stone, both of which can last indefinitely. But the bituminous binder degrades quickly, causing the asphalt to loosen and decay. With road traffic steadily rising, roads need repairing more often. Conventional repair techniques are costly and create waste, noise and air pollution. They are also very carbon-intensive, typically producing about 85 kg of CO2 per square metre.
Nu-Phalt developed an alternative infra-red road-repair system. Rather than excavating holes and then refilling with fresh material, this new method uses infra-red to melt existing macadam, using a minimum of new material, and then resetting the area around the defect for a seamless repair.