Beyond Asphalt Creating Green Highways From Sand and Microbes

first_imgWhen we think of oil by-products, most attention goes to gasoline. But oil is–literally–everywhere. It’s in many cosmetics and household products, in the plastics we surround ourselves with, and a major component of what you drove on today–asphalt.But just because asphalt isn’t burned for energy doesn’t mean it doesn’t have toxic effects on the environment. Various chemicals are leaked into nature by asphalt’s production, installation, and throughout its lifetime. AdChoices广告That’s why engineers are starting to look to alternatives to asphalt in road construction. One pair of designers has created a new project that hopes to do just that. The research team of Thomas Kosbau and Andrew Wetzler recently won the Korean green design IidaAwards 2010 for their innovative road construction: “Sand.Stone.Road.” The idea is simple: using very cheap and abundant sand, and mix it with a common microbe to create roadworthy sandstone. If implemented, the idea would not only take a need for millions of barrels of oil out of the global equation, but save money. The system would be far cheaper than traditional asphalt, which rose in price by 222% (!) between 2003 and 2008. via inhabitatlast_img read more