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The Asphalt Challenge

The asphalt industry has experienced many complex challenges over the last 20-25 years and the continued success of individual companies is strongly dependent on efficient operations and utilizing new technologies and new products to solve the problems they face.

In the 1990’s, global crude oil was trending towards heavy sour (sulfur- bearing) crude with the resulting asphalt production increasingly fed to cokers to maximize the recovered value of the heavy crude. Development of the Canadian Oil Sands and subsequent recovery of the sand-bound bitumen generated a new heavy crude but the recovered oil was too viscous to transport without dilution. Upgraders were required to produce a “synthetic crude oil” that could be efficiently transported by rail or pipeline but the resulting characteristics of this synthetic crude oil and particularly of the contained bitumen are different than that of conventional crude oil.

Refiners in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions experienced a significant decline in m-Value, which in many cases, is tied to their processing an increasing amount of this synthetic crude oil and the trend continues to expand today as more synthetic crude is processed by refiners across the country.

The PDVSA strike and resulting loss of asphalt supply in 2002-2003, challenged the industry to quickly learn how to qualify and use alternative asphalts and extenders. When PDVSA asphalt returned to the marketplace, the product had changed and the marketplace had changed.

During the shale boom from 2008-2014, the increasing availability of low-cost shale oil from fracking fields like the Bakken and Eagle Ford, enticed refiners to process less heavy crude. As shale oil carries little asphalt, the result was less available asphalt and the asphalt quality again had changed.

Following the OPEC price reduction in late 2014, continued investment in the shale fields became uneconomical and suddenly the refining community shifted back to processing large quantities of imported heavy crude. Unfortunately, the ensuing quality variations of the generated asphalt were much greater than prior experience, leaving a new and complex challenge to the end user; how to formulate to changing base binder characteristics.

In late 2016, OPEC agreed to reduce production and shale oil became the world’s marginal crude supply, providing crude oil price stability but again threatening North American asphalt supply.

Further compounding the challenges of managing changing asphalt quality; the expanding use of asphalt additives, extenders and diluents has greatly magnified the complexity of developing a cost-effective and successful formulation for a paving or roofing application.

Crude oil selection is largely based on total refining economics, not the selling price of asphalt, regardless of the end use of that asphalt. Refining decisions, driven by the need to generate higher value products to recover investments, typically do not reflect or even consider the roofing manufacturers’ or paving contractors’ requirements for quality asphalt.

Annual Asphalt Production Chart - Engineered Additives
In little more than a decade, North America has experienced (i) significant shifts in the availability of asphalt, (ii) higher costs for the available asphalt but more importantly, (iii) dramatic changes in asphalt quality; all of which, threaten the paving contractor’s and roofing manufacturer’s long-term ability to provide a high quality product, significantly increases the costs of paving our highways and impacts the life cycle of those roofs and highways.

The next major change for the asphalt industry may be an indirect impact of new global sulfur regulations to be implemented in 2020. With the related refinery decisions and potential of changes beginning in 2018, the asphalt end-user needs to be prepared for more challenges.

Options these companies must consider include:

1. adding process oils or lube additives (at much higher cost) to replace the missing soft components
2. using chemical modifiers to bridge the quality gap in the available but harder asphalts
3. utilizing refinery processing agreements to generate quality product at “on-purpose” economics.

Highway paving in the U.S. uses 20-22 Million tons of asphalt each year and ~60% of that asphalt is modified with SBS, EVA, APP, GTR or other compounds to add specific functionalities. The roofing industry uses 4-5 Million tons of asphalt each year and approximately 20% of roofing asphalt is modified with polymers such as SBS and APP polymers. These polymers provide elongation, elastic recovery, wear resistance and enhanced thermoplastic characteristics at a wide range of temperature and environmental conditions, allowing the asphalt compounds to yield longer life highways and more resilient roofs on many commercial buildings, schools and hospitals.

As asphalt quality has declined, polymer affinity and effectiveness have also changed, in many cases, requiring additional polymer to compensate or using chemical modification to offset or delay the change. Applications extend beyond roofing or paving applications and add substantial benefit to adhesive and sealant formulations.

These rapidly changing circumstances continue to present an opportunity for a group of modifiers to predictably (a) improve or protect weathering characteristics for shingle manufacturers, (b) improve polymer affinity in the case of SBS, APP or other polymer modified products for paving and roofing applications, (c) improve processing characteristics of filled asphalt compounds, (d) allow use of lower cost and more readily available asphalt feedstock, all without compromise of pavement performance or roofing manufacturer's warranty requirements.

This portfolio of products must fit into and be compatible with the vast range of chemistries found in asphalt (which naturally varies in composition based on the crude oil). In some cases, these novel materials may provide improved functionality to the compound and to the finished product. In other cases, they may function as compatibilizers or as cross-linking agents to improve the durability characteristics of the asphalt compound or pavement mix.

Our Solutions

Our organization, our Technology Partners and our Technical Sales Associates provide practical and hands-on experience to asphalt modification for paving and roofing applications. We understand the technical aspects of the changes with crude oil selection and the impacts on asphalt quality over the last 10 years, and we have worked diligently to develop and offer a variety of unique and new products to provide solutions. Our focus is to efficiently and economically improve asphalt performance.

Engineereerd Additives Product & Properties Matrix
We have developed a matrix table of the various modifiers we offer for a variety of applications, to quickly guide you to the product or products we have available to meet your specific needs. Product Properties & Applications Matrix

How we can help

High RAP & RAS

Our GREEN and 100% renewable rejuvenator chemistry extracts and recovers the aged binder and promotes re-distribution of the regenerated binder across the old and new aggregate. Low temperature PG performance and crack resistance are improved and the resulting mix will yield full warm-mix benefits. (“Warm-Mix and High RAP Additives” on Our Products page.)

Warm mix

We offer proven pathways to warm-mix with one being the same GREEN chemistry that supports high RAP/RAS content in your mix. No other chemistry can offer the combined benefits of high RAP/RAS and warm-mix in a single additive. A second chemistry offers equivalent warm-mix benefits from a slip-agent technology with substantially improved low-temperature mix handling characteristics. (“Warm-Mix and High RAP Additives” on Our Products page.)

Modify binder viscosity

Our GREEN and 100% renewable chemistry offers a safe, efficient and economical means to reduce binder viscosity and adjust the PG of the binder, versus using aromatic extracts or other products that may contain or be produced from hazardous ingredients. (“Asphalt Performance Modifiers” on Our Products page.)

Water foaming

The #1 complaint with water-foaming today is the rapidly stiffening mix as it’s hauled to the job site. Our GREEN and 100% renewable chemistry will better than triple the foam half-life, extending hauling distance and extending laydown and compaction time. (“Enhanced Water Foaming” on Our Products page.)

Improve workability

Both of our warm-mix technologies offer substantially improved workability to your mix, regardless if a virgin mix or RAP/RAS mix. Many recycle mixes are stiff and difficult to handle. These additives, while also improving PG of the recycle binder, will make these difficult mixes manageable again. (“Warm-Mix and High RAP Additives” & “Pavement Performance Modifiers” on Our Products page.)

Cracking & raveling

Our GREEN and 100% renewable chemistries offer significant improvement in crack resistance of the pavement mix. The rejuvenation and co-mingling of any recycle binder with the virgin binder assures improved mix strength that is less prone to cracking and raveling. (“Asphalt Performance Modifiers” on Our Products page.)

Dry or stiff mix

Most dry or stiff mixes result from insufficient binder or ineffective recycle binder in a mix. Our GREEN and 100% renewable rejuvenator chemistry extracts and recovers the aged RAP/RAS binder and promotes co-mingling with the virgin binder and re-distribution of the regenerated binder across the old and new aggregate. (“Asphalt Performance Modifiers” on Our Products page.)

Improve binder m-Value

Where “m-Value” is the rate of change of Creep Stiffness of the binder over time, many refiners processing synthetic crude oil have seen a significant decline in m-Value of their asphalt. A small addition of our GREEN and 100% renewable chemistry offers significant improvement in m-Value for those binders with high asphaltene content, and at nominal cost to the refiner, terminal or the contractor. (“Asphalt Performance Modifiers” on Our Products page.)

Recover gelled PMA

The effective dispersant characteristics of our GREEN and 100% renewable chemistry have been shown to be very effective in breaking and recovering gelled PMA. A little applied heat and some circulation will break down the gel and allow the contents to be recovered and reused. (“H. Unique Carrier Solvents, Release Agents & Process Aids” on Our Products page).

“Green” bed release

An emulsion formulation of our GREEN and 100% renewable chemistry acts as an effective slip agent and anti-stick for use in hot-mix truck beds. Unlike using diesel or other petroleum solvents, there are no emissions, health or environmental hazards associated with this chemistry. (“Unique Carrier Solvents, Release Agents & Process Aids” on Our Products page.)

Tank/vessel cleaning

The effective dispersant characteristics of our GREEN and 100% renewable chemistry have been shown to be very effective in re-dispersing and recovering of hardened binder-tank heals and sediment. A little applied heat and some circulation will solvate the tank contents and allow the recovered asphalt to be predictably re-used into new binder, all with no need to enter the tank or vessel. (“Unique Carrier Solvents, Release Agents & Process Aids” on Our Products page.)

As our customer, your questions are important to us. If you are unable to find the answers you seek on these pages, please call us or email us your questions at the contact numbers and addresses listed below.
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  • We Provide Excellent Technical and Customer Support

Phone: (973) 216-3560 • Fax: (810) 277-7519 • Email: error-reload-page

320 Commons Drive, Suite 313, Parkesburg, PA 19365
Offices in: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida |

Asphalt Performance Modifiers and Additives