Grass2grit: Berm grass as defrosting agent

The province of Noord-Holland will use a new grass juice harvester to combat slipperiness on the N504 north of Alkmaar. For the time being, it is a trial. According to the province, the (partial) replacement of salt with grass juice and the processing of the fibres (Grass2Grit) is a circular and innovative application.

Grass2Grit is a circular concept in which roadside grass is converted into grass juice and grass fibres. The juice is used as a smoothness control, the fibers for road furniture. The development started a few years ago and in 2017 a first Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) on the Grass2Grit technique was completed. In addition to demonstrating this circular approach, the project leads to a number of positive environmental effects, according to the initiators. By mowing more often and in a nature-friendly way and clearing the grass, biodiversity along the way will increase. In addition, the pollution of road verges will decrease through the use of biobased road infrastructure.

For the project in North Holland, it is the first time that the Grass2Grit factory processes large quantities of grass into stray juice and fibres. The factory, which was opened at the beginning of March, will use the roadside juice until the end of 2022 as an alternative road salt on the N504. It is expected that between 6 and 10 tons of fresh grass will be needed to spread a km2 of road. The grass fibres that are released during the production of the juice can be used to make biobased road furniture.

Roadside grass is widely available. No less than 3 percent of the Netherlands consists of verges.

In 2018, the project received a LIFE grant in the category ‘environment and resource efficiency’, which allows a pilot to be carried out. Grass2Grit is a partnership between the province of Noord-Holland, J. van Bodegom & Zn, Van Gelder, Natural Plastics and Schuitemaker.

If the pilot project on the N504 is successful, Grass2Grit expects to expand nationally and internationally.

More in Innovative Materials 2020 number 3