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Application of Waste Cooking Oil in Construction of Asphalt Pavements

Funding/Research Support:

Harris Center, Multi-Materials Stewardship Board of Government of Newfoundland and Labrador,  Stantec Inc., Pardy’s Waste Management

Project Overview:

A large portion of the oils used for cooking will end up as waste-cooking-oil (WCO). WCO contains many harmful chemical by-products (palmitic acids), and improper disposal in the wastewater system taxes sewage lines and increases the organic load on the sewage treatment plant significantly. WCO does not need to be discarded, however, and there are various applications suitable for its reuse, such as converting it to bio-diesel or as an ingredient in animal foods. However, recent research has suggested that some of these applications of may not be truly sustainable. For example, evidence exists in the literature that the conversion process of WCO and its final use as a bio-diesel may not be sustainable when the life cycle environmental impacts associated with the conversion are considered.

Since WCO is a bituminous type material, it can be utilized to reduce the demand of virgin asphalt, and rejuvenate the chemical characteristics of aged binders. However, current studies all have one major limitation, namely that wide application ranges are suggested for a given design scenario. Therefore, this leaves pavement engineers confused about the optimal application. Moreover, to best our knowledge, no studies have been conducted to understand the performance of WCO in Canadian pavement and weather climates, such as Newfoundland and Labrador where we have frequent freeze-thaw, and large amounts of salt usage. Furthermore, there is a little research on the interaction effects of WCO with other typical chemicals used to increase the performance of asphalt pavement. This research is designed to fill this gap.