Rome: the first service station in the world paved with graphene enhanced asphalt

  NEWS & INTERVIEWS, Technical innovation

The paving contains the Gipave additive developed by Iterchimica. This 100% Italian technology was developed to improve performance in terms of resilience, durability and sustainability, at the same time as reducing costs and emissions

The first service station in the world paved with Gipave graphene enhanced asphalt was inaugurated in Rome on 29 September. This is a latest-generation additive developed to ensure more durable, safer and more sustainable road paving. And this “polymeric super-modifier” is a 100% Italian product: it was developed by Bergamo-based company Iterchimica. The company specialises in additives for asphalts and was founded in 1967 and operates today in more than 90 countries. A three-year research and development process involved collaboration with University of Milan Bicocca for life cycle analysis, G.Eco (A2A group) for the supply of hard plastics and Directa Plus, which supplied the graphene.

Graphene comprises a layer of carbon having the thickness of a single atom (mono-atomic) isolated in 2004 by physicists Andrej Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester, winners of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for their discovery. This extremely thin, transparent, waterproof, resistant and versatile material has opened up new horizons for nanotechnology.

Gipave contains graphene and a specially selected recycled plastic, which is currently not included on the recycling chain but destined as waste-to-energy plant. The main advantage provided by this additive, as confirmed by tests carried out so far, is the higher resistance of the asphalt to loads and thermal excursions alike. This paving is therefore less likely to suffer from potholes and will last longer, with safety benefits and reduced maintenance costs.

All the more, from an environmental point of view, paving with Gipave will ensure the recycling of a specific type of hard plastic which can then also be 100% recycled in subsequent production cycles, with savings on raw materials and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

The service station inaugurated along Via Ardeatina, in Rome, is owned by Q8 and have a total area of 2,000 square metres. Paving work was carried out by Rome-based company A.S. Appalti Stradali. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Federica Giannattasio, CEO of Iterchimica. The company is owned 90% by her family and the remaining 10% by Vito Gamberale, who is Chairman of the Board.

“This technology was entirely developed in Italy. It makes it possible to install high-tech, green and extremely resistant road paving with economic savings and a reduction in CO2 emissions into the atmosphere,” said Giannattasio. One tonne of recycled plastic was recycled for the service area; estimated suggest that avoiding incineration of this material saved about 82 kg of equivalent CO2. In addition, increasing the effective life-span of the paving may well reduce pollution emissions by up to 70%.

In this instance, Gipave was used for first time in a service station, having previously been involved in ten field tests in Italy – for example, taxiways for Rome-Fumicino and Cagliari-Elmas airports – as well as abroad, in Curbridge and Dartford, UK. The product was also donated for the 1,067 m. long road surface of the new Genoa San Giorgio bridge.