A study on transforming waste paper into secondary raw materials has received the Best Innovation prize


The UPC researcher Ariadna Martínez and Juan José Cepriá, form ACCIONA, collecting the prize on behalf of all the co-authors


The groups awarded at the 26th edition of the World Road Congress


From left to right, the PaperChain team members: Diego Aponte, Adriana Martínez, Hani Baloochi, Rodrigo Miró and Marilda Barra

A scientific study on transforming waste paper into secondary raw materials, presented by a UPC team in collaboration with ACCIONA Construcción’s Technology Centre and TECNALIA, has been awarded the Best Innovation prize by the World Road Association.

Dec 02, 2019

The paper Alternative secondary raw materials for road construction, based on pulp and paper industry reject. PaperChain project is part of the European project PaperChain focused on replacing the cement or lime used to reinforce pavement with fly ash from the paper industry. The research has been carried out by researchers from the research group Construction Materials and Roads at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) in collaboration with ACCIONA Construcción and TECNALIA and compiles the findings on improving and stabilising the grounds that support roads. Cement and lime are important sources of CO2 emissions and thus using fly ash instead significantly reduces the carbon footprint of road construction.

The World Road Association (PIARC) presented the prize on 6 October in Abu Dhabi as part of the 26th edition of the World Road Congress. The study, which won one of the eight prizes awarded, was awarded on Best Innovation prizes. It is co-authored by UPC researchers Hani Baloochi, Diego Aponte, Marilda Barra, Adriana Martínez and Rodrigo Miró. The study is also co-authored by Juan José Cepriá and Roberto Orejana, of ACCIONA Construcción’s Technology Centre, and Asier Oleaga, of TECNALIA.

Results of a case study in Zaragoza
The prize was awarded to one of the case studies of the PaperChain project carried out in Villamayor del Gállego (Zaragoza), in which one kilometre of a busy rural road was improved by reinforcing stabilised pavement with waste paper ash.

The Best Innovative prize was collected by Adriana Martínez, a researcher from the UPC’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Juan José Cepriá, of ACCIONA, on behalf of all the co-authors.

The World Road Congress is a centennial event that is held every four years and brings together the main actors in the road sector. Over 5,000 representatives from 120 countries attended this last edition.

About the PaperChain project

The UPC participates in the PaperChain project, which is coordinated by ACCIONA.

It involves 20 partners from five European countries and includes large-scale demonstrators in several operational environments: the construction sector in Spain (stabilised-soil layers in roads), Portugal (asphalt and concrete) and Slovenia (composite materials for slope stabilisation); and in Sweden for both the chemical sector (bioethanol for secondary chemicals) and the mining sector (sealing layers).

The project is funded by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, with a budget of 7.8 million euros. SAICA, the Road Laboratory of the Government of Aragon and the Ministry of Development are also involved in the project.