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Dutch courage

Letters

The use of asphalt to generate solar heated water to defrost roads (NCE 19 May) is an excellent subject for NCE to bring to the attention of readers.

There is already a commercially available system being used in The Netherlands which uses groundwater in aquifers for storage of hot and cold water.

The first two Road Energy System projects (as the Dutch process is called) in the UK are expected to be constructed in Scotland by a soon-to-besigned UK licensee. A national surfacing contractor has also expressed interest in the system which uses low temperature polymer modified asphalts to avoid melting the European patented plastic pipes and retaining grid system.

The Road Energy System was developed jointly by a multi-discipline engineering team of contractor Ooms Avenhorn Holding, Tipspit and Vloerverwarming as a method for heating and cooling buildings. Following this process the 'waste' warm and cold water still has enough energy to defrost winter roads, car parks, ramps, flyovers, and aircraft standing and taxiways etc, as well as cooling them during summer, thus prolonging the life of the pavement into the bargain.

The largest project to date at 10,000m 2 is a fly over into Rotterdam docks where defrosting of the elevated structure is key to ensuring year round access.

Chris Sullivan, managing director, Material Edge, chris@materialedge. co. uk

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