VACAVILLE – A new company has brought the potential cost and resource savings of pavement recycling to the small-scale realm of asphalt patching.
Instead of paying for asphalt ripped up during underground utility work to be hauled to a landfill or recycler and paying for new material to be hauled from sometimes distant hot-mix plants, Go Green Asphalt of Vacaville offers to tote its mobile recycler to the job site. The renewed hot-mix asphalt can be used to cover the same hole or trench as well as to fill potholes or gaps with newly placed.
Go Green Asphalt was started early last year by the owners of Vacaville-based general engineering contractor Solano Construction, Joe Andrews and DeAna Partlow. In December the new company received its trailer-mounted recycler from manufacturer Bagela of Germany and the crew undertook its first project in a church parking lot in the city late last month.
“In the past when [Solano Construction] would buy asphalt for patch paving, we would have to buy five tons of asphalt to do a one-ton job, because it cooled on the outside and we’d have to peel off about four tons and send it to the landfill,” said Jonas Villabla, project manager for the new venture.
The technology has been around for a decade and has been used on the East Coast for several years, but this is the equipment’s first appearance in California. Until now mobile hot-mix asphalt recyclers have been reserved for large-scale road projects.
In the Bagela unit, chunks of old asphalt go into a hopper at the top of the 22-foot-long recycler and pass through a rotating drum, in which the bitumen binder is melted by 320-degree indirect heat. The mix passes through sorting baffles and emerges in a pile of refreshed asphalt. The process takes three minutes and can produce 10 tons an hour, or up to 100 tons a day.
“The asphalt that comes out is only as good as what goes in, so if it is short on oil as it oxidized over time, we can put in a rejuvenating agent,” Mr. Villalba said. That additive amounts to one cup per ton of asphalt.
The company has been experimenting with reviving asphalt with recycled asphalt roofing shingles, which have 60 percent fiber content and 20 percent oil content that can reinforce the pavement.
The service costs $75 to $89 per ton, based on at least a day’s worth of work. While the cost of new asphalt is about the same per ton, Go Green Asphalt points out the additional costs – sales tax on new material, off-hauling, delivery and disposal – can add another $16 to $41 dollars per ton in Sacramento and the Bay Area, respectively.
The service isn’t for all patch work. It may not work for projects where there isn’t enough space to stockpile broken asphalt, Mr. Villalba noted.
Part of the delay in rolling out the new service has been regulatory, according to Mr. Villalba. The company must obtain operating permits from each air-quality management region, which so far has been the Yolo-Solano, Bay Area and Sacramento Metropolitan districts. That costs about $2,000 per district. A permit for the northern Sonoma air district is pending.