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NPDC partnership trials revolutionary road product

Featured news Local Our Work

A low-carbon replacement for bitumen, largely derived from tree oil, is being trialled on a New Plymouth road.


NPDC and Downer have partnered up to trial Bio Bind - a revolutionary product that eliminates the need for petroleum oil-based products being used on our roads. 


“More than 70 per cent of Bio Bind comes from renewable resources with a primary component coming from trees. The use of tree-derived oil ensures it’s a renewable and sustainable alternative to conventional bitumen,” says Downer Road Science Head of Product Innovation Darcy Rogers.


“Two years of dedicated laboratory research and development has gone into developing Bio Bind and now we’re ready for a real-world trial, in partnership with NPDC.”


NPDC Manager Transport Rui Leitao says the product has been laid on a section of Smart Road, between Colson and Alberta roads, instead of the traditional bitumen-based asphaltic concrete.


“We are a big supporter of innovation and we’re really happy to work with Downer on this trial, especially with our vision of building a sustainable lifestyle capital.


“Bitumen is a key material on New Zealand roads and if we can replace it with a greener product, it’ll be a big step toward sustainability and less environmental impact,” says Rui.


While experimental, based on current laboratory data and test pad trials, Bio Bind is expected to have a lifespan similar to that of regular bitumen in asphalt applications. Bio Bind is an ever-evolving product that will adapt as new raw materials become available. The ultimate goal is to create a Bio Bind product sourced entirely from renewable and recycled resources.


Fast facts:

  • NPDC maintains 1,309km of roads across the district.
  • We’re spending nearly $27m in 2023/24 on road maintenance, operations and renewals.