New Kranji research centre could mean 'greener' roads in future

SINGAPORE - Motorists in Singapore know that the roads here are famously green with trees. In the future, they may find the very asphalt roads they drive on 'green' as well.

A new $2 million research and development (R&D) centre in Kranji launched on Friday by construction and road works firm Ley Choon Group is studying ways to increase the proportion of recycled asphalt and other aggregates used in our roads.

The limit for this currently stands at 30 per cent and is set by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to ensure road quality. The Ley Choon Group will test whether its possible to have mixtures containing up to 70 per cent recycled material while maintaining durability and safety on our roads.

The new centre is also looking to improve on current roads, for example by adding recycled aluminium ore to reduce the risk of cars skidding. The research centre opened on Friday alongside the group's new asphalt recycling plant which is Singapore's largest. The 45m-tall building can produce 400 tonnes of asphalt per hour which is equal to the load of 25 tipper trucks.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck said that Singapore can reduce its heavy reliance on importing construction materials if more recycled aggregate is used.

More recycling also means less construction waste and less pressure put on the country's limited landfill space, he added.

"If (the private sector) continues to research this, I believe we can be self-sufficient in time to come. It has to be driven by the private sector," said Mr Teo.

The government would work with industry to see if current limits on recycled materials in roads could be reviewed in future, he said, as long as manufacturers "ensure that the (road) quality doesn't suffer".