Infrastructure challenges appear to be universal: over one billion people in the world have no access to roads,1 while in developed countries, infrastructure repair estimates can be in the trillions of dollars and are largely underfunded.2 In many developed countries, aging infrastructures are in need of repair, upgrading or replacement, while in countries with emerging economies, rapid urbanization is creating demand for new infrastructure projects as they attempt to keep pace with population growth.
In the United States, experts say the infrastructure is decaying. According to the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S. infrastructure a near failing grade of “D+” and estimates that improving it requires an investment of $3.6 trillion by 2020.
The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that, in the U.S. alone, $170 billion in capital investment would be needed on an annual basis to significantly improve infrastructure conditions and performance. America’s new growth has led to a demand for buildings, equipment, energy and digital pipelines, all of which have to be transported across America’s roads, so the need for sustainable infrastructure materials has never been more urgent.
Infrastructure and the Environment
A robust infrastructure can be good for the environment. In “10 Solutions to Climate Change,” Scientific American Magazine reports that bad roads can lower the fuel economy of even the most efficient vehicle.3 Investing in new infrastructure, or overhauling and upgrading existing highways and transmission lines, would help cut greenhouse gas emissions and drive economic growth in developing countries. Smooth roadways require less stress on the tires and shock absorbers on a vehicle, and that in turn, adds to fuel efficiency and vehicle longevity.
And while the products used to construct roads and bridges can add to greenhouse gas emissions, asphalt and concrete manufacturers are looking at alternative methods to lower these levels. Through the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation is developing new, sustainable, safe and cost-effective paving materials for building roads and highways through programs such as “Highways for Life,” which aims to establish longer-lasting highway infrastructure by promoting faster construction of efficient highways and bridges.4 USDOT’s FHWA supports Solidia with a multi-year Cooperative Agreement (CRADA) to examine Solidia Concrete in transportation infrastructure applications. The production of cement, which is used to make concrete, is responsible for 3-5% of total global carbon emissions. Water scarcity is becoming more of an issue, and the rise of urbanization and industrialization is placing increased stress on aging infrastructure the world over. Solidia Technologies offers a profitable solution to all these challenges, with products that have now proven to be more durable than traditional Portland cement-based products.
Solidia – An Infrastructure Solution
Solidia Technologies® is a sustainable technology company with a patented scientific process that makes it easy and profitable to use CO2 to create better building, construction and industrial products. As part of its mandate to find solutions that are more resilient and sustainable, FHWA supports Solidia with a multi-year Cooperative Agreement (CRADA) to examine transportation infrastructure applications.
This joint program includes independent testing of Solidia Concrete at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. Solidia’s process uses a sustainable cement to produce concrete that is stronger, more durable, more flexible and costs less—using the same raw materials and equipment but less water, energy, and time throughout the entire supply chain. A huge cost savings would be realized by end-users through the product’s ability to speed project development: Solidia Cement™ cures in less than 24 hours, a dramatic improvement over Ordinary Portland Cement that requires up to 28 days to set. Additionally, Solidia Concrete™ has better strength, high resistance to salt spray and better abrasion resistance resulting in enhanced durability for certain types of precast concrete applications.
Solidia concrete products’ strength and durability has been verified according to all market standards: ASTM, AASHTO, EN and CSA.
1. “Promoting Pro-Poor Growth: Infrastructure,” Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 2006
2. “Report Card for American Infrastructure,” American Society of Civil Engineers, 2013
3. “10 Solutions for Climate Change,” Scientific American, 26 November 2007
4. “Highways for Life,” U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, 13 July 2016
“Strategic, Safe, and Sustainable: Today’s Vision for Pavements,” US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, December 2009
“Better Road Building Paves Way for Energy Savings,” National Geographic News, 17 October 2011
“Coming Soon, Economists Hope: Big Spending on Roads, Bridges and Ports,” The New York Times, 18 September 2016