The production and use of biofuels has increased in the present context of sustainable development. Biofuel production from plant biomass produces not only biofuel or ethanol but also co-products containing lignin, modified lignin, and lignin derivatives. This research investigated the utilization of lignin-containing biofuel co-products (BCPs) in pavement soil stabilization as a new application area. Laboratory tests were conducted to evaluate the performance and the moisture susceptibility of two types of BCP-treated soil samples compared to the performance of untreated and traditional stabilizer-treated (fly ash) soil samples. The two types of BCPs investigated were (1) a liquid type with higher lignin content (co-product A) and (b) a powder type with lower lignin content (coproduct B). Various additive combinations (co-product A and fly ash, co-products A and B, etc.) were also evaluated as alternatives to stand-alone co-products. Test results indicate that BCPs are effective in stabilizing the Iowa Class 10 soil classified as CL or A-6(8) and have excellent resistance to moisture degradation. Strengths and moisture resistance in comparison to traditional additives (fly ash) could be obtained through the use of combined additives (co-product A + fly ash; co-product A + co-product B).
Utilizing BCPs as a soil stabilizer appears to be one of the many viable answers to the profitability of the bio-based products and the bioenergy business. Future research is needed to evaluate the freeze-thaw durability and for resilient modulus characterization of BCPmodified layers for a variety of pavement subgrade and base soil types. In addition, the long-term performance of these BCPs should be evaluated under actual field conditions and traffic loadings. Innovative uses of BCP in pavement-related applications could not only provide additional revenue streams to improve the economics of biorefineries, but could also serve to establish green road infrastructures.
Iowa State University
IHRB Project TR-582
Iowa Highway Research Board, Iowa Department of Transportation
Gopalakrishnan, Kasthurirangan; Ceylan, Halil; and Kim, Sunghwan, "Biofuel Co-Product Uses for Pavement Geo-Materials Stabilization" (2010). InTrans Project Reports. 65.