Dutch province opens its first CO2 negative road

The Dutch province of Zuid-Holland has opened its first CO2 negative road. The road N211 is localized between the cities of The Hague and Poeldijk. The province has commissioned construction concern BAM Infra to develop the sustainable and CO2 negative road. The company has provided the piece of infrastructure with 20 different sustainable innovations that save energy and carbon emissions. The province has said to repeat this approach of sustainable innovations in all of its infrastructure projects and wishes to share knowledge and experience on sustainable infrastructure with other governments.

Sustainable innovations

During this project, the construction firm worked alongside engineering and consultancy agency Sweco. According to the province, the construction works and maintenance of the N211 has led to 4.000 tons of carbon emissions, while 14.000 tons of CO2 emissions were saved and compensated during the construction and life cycle of the road. This is made possible by means of the sustainable measures that were taken during the developmental phase of the N211. A few examples of these sustainable innovations are sustainable heat generation through the bicycle lane, the use of asphalt that is produced at a lower temperature, dynamic systems that dim the lighting when there is little traffic and the use of geopolymer instead of cement to construct the tiles for the bicycle lane. The use of geopolymer leads to CO2 savings compared to cement.

Higher ambitions

“If it were up to us, we would be implementing innovations in all the roads of the Netherlands”, says Marcel Geleijnse, project leader at BAM Infra, in a press release. “The ambitions for the N211 were higher than what is usual in the market, but with a great collaboration and a few committed partners, a lot becomes possible.” BAM Infra had won the tender for the N211 and works together with 14 other companies to implement the 20 sustainable innovations on the N211.

“We did not bet on one horse”, says deputy Floor Vermeulen of the province of Zuid-holland. “The carbon emissions that we managed to save or compensate was not made possible by one great promising innovation. It was made possible by one integral approach in which some of the implemented innovations were tested, but not yet ready for the market. Zuid-Holland as a launching customer, has given these innovations the last push for them to be market ready.” The approach and ambitions for N211 will be applied in other projects as well, such as the road N470.

Cut back carbon footprint

The CO2 negative N211 contributes to the ambitions of the province to cut back its carbon footprint in infrastructure construction and maintenance by half in 2025 compared to 2015. Zuid-Holland aims to become completely CO2 neutral in 2050. This ambition will be further concretized in the maintenance of N211 and N470.