Asphalt Feedstock Selection Methodology

Asphalt Feedstock Selection Methodology

Asphalt, a crucial component in the construction and maintenance of roads, roofing and waterproofing applications, plays a vital role in ensuring the durability and longevity of transportation infrastructure and buildings. The selection of appropriate asphalt feedstocks is a critical decision-making process that directly impacts the performance, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of asphalt-based materials. This blog provides an overview of key considerations and methodologies involved in the selection of asphalt feedstocks.

Major shifts in the oil and gas downstream sector in recent years, have resulted in rationalization and attrition of suppliers and changes in the availability of feedstocks suitable for asphalt production. As a result, asphalt refiners’ current feed approval protocols are increasingly challenged as dynamic/rapid decision making is required.  The need for asphalt suppliers with stable quality and logistics flexibility has become critical. For end users, sourcing high quality asphalt is required to maintain road and roofing performance and safety of road operators and construction workers. Asphalt also has additional benefits: asphalt production will help suppliers to reduce scope 3 CO2 emissions. In comparison with high carbon load products such as fuel oil, 1 metric ton of asphalt has approximately 0.25 Kg eq CO2 while 1 metric ton of HSFO has approximately 3.64 Kg eq CO2.

There are various types of crude oils with potential for use as asphalt feedstock. Each feedstock type presents unique characteristics in terms of viscosity, rheological properties, aging resistance, and environmental footprint. However, not all crude oils are suitable for asphalt.

In the past, stability of supplies made possible to develop criteria for comprehensive approval protocols for evaluating asphalt feedstocks, encompassing technical performance requirements, economic feasibility, environmental sustainability, and regulatory compliance. Factors such as aggregate compatibility, pavement temperature susceptibility, and energy consumption during production, were considered to assess the overall suitability of feedstocks for specific applications.

In the current reality, such complex feedstock approval protocols are seldom possible. However, it is possible to develop tools based on viscometrics and performance-based parameters which can provide an excellent risk management tool to aid in the selection of crude oils suitable for asphalt feedstocks.   While it is not possible to ensure that such tools developed to assess crude and products blends for various asphalt grades will be 100% exact, tools have been developed and successfully utilized which can provide a 90 – 95% confidence interval and achieve the goal of minimizing feedstock risk in the production of asphalt. The tools developed have the flexibility to accommodate various refining schemes such as asphalt/lubes configuration, deep conversion plus asphalt or simple conversion plus asphalt.

Recently, proprietary, web-based tools have been developed for an important deep conversion refiner in South America and a lubes/asphalt refiner in Europe. The tool for the deep conversion refining configuration allowed the refiner to check feedstocks and verify that the cut points required for deep conversion can be maintained while producing asphalt of various qualities acceptable in multiple world markets. The tool for the lubes/asphalt refining operation, allowed the refiner to assess potential feedstocks and ensure desirable asphalt properties without affecting bottoms balance or the lubes production operations.

In conclusion, this blog emphasizes the importance of strategic asphalt feedstock selection in achieving resilient, cost-effective, and sustainable transportation infrastructure. Becht can help the feedstock selection by integrating technical expertise, economic analysis, and environmental considerations. Decision-makers can optimize asphalt formulations to meet evolving performance standards, mitigate environmental impacts, and promote long-term sustainability in the construction industry.



About The Author


Authors Recent Posts

Asphalt Feedstock Selection Methodology

Leave a Reply

Let Becht Turn Your Problem
Into Peace of Mind