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Colorado National Speedway Demonstrates Liberty Tire Recycling’s SmartMIX Asphalt Technology

Project made possible by first public grant of its kind in the state

PITTSBURGH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Colorado National Speedway (CNS) is leading the way toward sustainability through the use of an innovative rubberized asphalt made from recycled tires. In partnership with the Colorado Solid Waste Market Development Program, funding was made available to demonstrate new rubberized technology and put it to the test in the demanding Colorado climate on the state’s premier NASCAR track.

“You’ve heard of where the rubber meets the road, this is where the rubber is the road,” said Jim Nordhougen, Owner and Event Promoter of the track. “We tried to use recycled tire rubber in the past, but it was too expensive and difficult to coordinate with the extra liquid tanks and specialized equipment. This time around the process was much easier and less expensive.”

The innovation comes from Liberty Tire Recycling’s SmartMIX Reacted Rubber Particle Technology that pre-cooks rubber powder and oil together before it is delivered to the asphalt mix producer.

“The pre-cooking makes sure the rubber is saturated and swelled with oil, prior to adding the hot mix asphalt. This eliminates separate liquid storage tanks, extra asphalt liquid, elevated mixing temperatures, or extra mixing time at the plant,” said Doug Carlson, VP of Asphalt Products for Liberty Tire Recycling. “During production of asphalt with SmartMIX, there is very little change to a mix producer’s operation. We just add 12 pounds of the treated rubber powder along with the recycled mix that they are already using and it provides for a more durable, flexible and crack resistant mix. It is really easy to do.”

“The project beneficially reused the rubber from 520 end-of-life passenger tires in 650 tons of the rubberized mix,” said Brian Gaboriau, Waste Tire Grants Administrator of the Colorado Waste Tire Market Development Program. “Colorado National Speedway was the first grant of its kind in the state and we are interested in how the new technology works out.”

According to Dan Kehn, CEO of Kehn Construction of Ft. Collins, SmartMIX rubber gets added to the mix along with recycled asphalt. A blower handles the rubber powder and adds it accurately to the mix in the right proportion. “This mix had about 12 pounds of rubber added to every ton of mix,” he said. “It was pretty straightforward.”

The track paving project in the Pit Road area used 130 tons of recycled asphalt along with the recycled tire rubber. Rubberized asphalt made with SmartMIX allows for the greater use of recycling without harming the quality or performance of the mix.

“SmartMIX technology truly embodies Liberty’s overall mission of sustainability and environmental stewardship by giving another life to end-of-use tires,” said Carlson. “CNS may be first racetrack to implement the technology, but it is not the only stretch of road to put SmartMIX to the test.”

The National Center for Asphalt Technology in Auburn Alabama is an accelerated loading facility where real loaded trucks circle the track night and day to get ten years’ worth of traffic on the test sections in 3 years’ time. NCAT placed SmartMIX asphalt materials on its test track in September 2021 and is evaluating performance on a weekly basis.

“A goal of the project is to be able to recycle the scrap tires generated and collected at the track and turn them into longer lasting track surfaces in the future,” said Nordhougen.

“Waste tires can be a challenge to manage if not disposed of properly,” said Gaboriau. “If the rubberized asphalt market develops as a result of the project, as we plan, we can close the loop on waste tire collection, processing and beneficial re-use in our state.”

Contacts

Dan Kehn

Don Kehn Construction, Inc.

(970) 226-4111

Doug Carlson

Liberty Tire Recycling

(602) 751-6039

Jim Nordhougen, Promoter

Colorado National Speedway

(303) 828-0116

Brian Gaboriau

HAZ.MAT. CONTROL DIV B-200

(303)-692-2097

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