Highways England, GEIC to create low carbon, digital road network
Highways England has entered into a partnership with The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) with an aim to revolutionise road infrastructure in the UK by creating a low carbon and digital road network.
The collaboration will strive to address deterioration of road and pavement surfaces in England along with many other challenges faced by the road network in England.
GEIC is said to have expertise in the rapid development and scaling up of 2D materials applications such as graphene. The industry-led innovation centre is designed to work in collaboration with industry partners to develop, evaluate and optimise new concepts for delivery to market and also the processes needed for scale-up and supply chain integration.
According to The University of Manchester, adding graphene into maintenance and renewals operations can potentially help in prolonging asset life and make the network perform at an industry-changing level. It is also expected to enhance the experience of those using the roads, cutting down road worker exposure and making road trips more reliable.
Highways England innovation director Paul Doney said: “We are really excited about the opportunity to explore leading edge materials and what this might lead to for our road network.
“GEIC is at the forefront, having made the discovery here in Manchester, and by building a collaboration with our operations teams who understand the challenges, we are looking to deliver improved safety and performance of our roads.”
The partnership will explore the operational and road user benefit of introducing graphene into road surfacing, road markings and other assets. The potential enhancements could lead to stronger, long-lasting materials, said The University of Manchester.
Graphene@Manchester CEO James Baker said: “This latest partnership is a brilliant example of how graphene can be used to tackle problems faced by most people everyday. This is further enabled by the facilities and capabilities we can provide to our industry partners, that accelerates the many small improvements that ultimately create an optimised product.”
Recently, Highways England revealed that it has used the well-known sandbox block-building video game Minecraft to develop plans for the Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet scheme.