Abbink Boekelo Wegenbouw
Abbink Boekelo Wegenbouw
Abbink Boekelo Wegenbouw was founded by Henk Abbink in 1989 and has since grown into a highly experienced specialist in the field of road construction. SME business owner Geert Abbink, Henk’s son, took over together with his two brothers in 2007. Geert is currently in talks with an entrepreneur who is able to produce a bio-based version of bitumen, an industrial binding agent. ‘Right away, I saw opportunities for changing the traditional way asphalt is processed,’ says Geert. ‘We took this bio-based material and were soon able to create a new product.’ This new product was dubbed ‘Ecofalt’, a sustainable alternative for regular asphalt. While regular asphalt needs to be heated to 180° degrees Celsius to be mixed, Ecofalt is cold-manufactured, drastically reducing the resulting CO2 emissions and bringing the use of gas down by almost 100%. ‘For a standard road, 5 meters wide and 100 meters in length, using Ecofalt results in saving no less than 1575 square meters of gas, which is equal to the average annual gas usage of a regular household. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 34,000 kg.’
In 2013, Geert Abbink presented his innovation to the engineering office of the municipality of Enschede, and was given the go-ahead for an initial pilot of one-and-a-half years, with the municipality as Launching Customer. A second pilot followed, with the aim of creating a tester lane. Having completed two pilots successfully, Geert was then able to find private investors in his own network who contributed to the in-house development of the mixing system that produces Ecofalt. These investments eventually resulted in Ecofalt’s market launch. ‘While the current rigid regulations make it really hard to utilize more innovative products, I do believe that products like Ecofalt will be the norm in the road construction industry in five years’ time. After all, Ecofalt scores very highly on issues such as gas savings, CO2 emissions and circular manufacturing.’
Geert and his Ecofalt were finalists in the 2018 Young Technology Award. In the weeks prior to the finals, Geert received support from Novel-T, and the Novel-T communication channels were used to share developments regarding Ecofalt. The process also resulted in access to relevant networks; for example, Abbink Boekelo Wegenbouw has since joined BeStart Friesland, an organization that helps sustainable startups expand their business further.