France’s porcelain capital is now coating its road surfaces with the precious ceramic. The local circular economy process has been developed by the Colas Group.
It’s no secret that the famous Limoges ceramic has other openings in fields as varied as health, aeronautics and even aerospace. But since the summer of 2016, this white gold has also been used for roads.
The more the surface wears, the more the porcelain in the asphalt appears. Creating a glow in headlights, not only are the streets safer but the street lighting can be dimmed too.
The streets sparkle in the center of Limoges! One hundred meters of Avenue du Midi, and 5 kilometers between rue Edouard Michaud and rue Joseph Cugnot include recycled porcelain. Under vehicle headlights an amazing halo appears that gets brighter as the road surface wears down.
The more the surface wears, the more the porcelain in the asphalt appears. Creating a glow in headlights, not only are the streets safer but the street lighting can be dimmed to save energy too!Recovering manufacturing waste
Another advantage of this innovation developed in the heart of the land of porcelain is that it uses the waste produced by the famous manufactures in the surrounding area. Bernardaud, Haviland and the Saint-Junien porcelain factory have thus found a way to make a profit from the crockery that can’t be sold.
A collection system takes the waste directly to the Condat-sur-Vienne industrial zone. Chipped and cracked plates, dishes and teapots form a mountain of porcelain. It’s just the first stage in a new life with Colas South-West which has developed this ingenious process.
To cover the road surface, the world road construction specialist slightly changed the composition and developed a hot asphalt coating containing up to 30% porcelain aggregate. For safety reasons, the coating was laboratory tested over a long period of time. Even with the now conclusive results from the sections tested in the capital of the Limousin region, there is no question of developing this innovation on a large scale. The amount of porcelain waste - estimated at no more than 400 tonnes per year - would not be sufficient.
Nevertheless, the local circular economy now includes porcelain streets. And for the city of Limoges it also means 50% lower energy bills on the porcelain sections.