On Monday 18 June, Schiphol Logistics Park officially opened the biobased bridge at the logistics business park in Rozenburg (NH). Schiphol Logistics Park, FiberCore Europe and TU Delft joined forces to construct this special footbridge. Never before was a bridge constructed in a regular building process with materials as sustainable as the materials of this bridge. Because of the composition of its materials the bridge is a special innovation.

The bridge was officially opened today by FiberCore Europe CEO Jan Kroon, Jeanet van Antwerpen of SADC, alderman John Nederstigt of the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer and Joris Smits of Royal Haskoning.

For his thesis at the Bridge Design Group of TU Delft architect Rafail Gkaidatzis did research into a footbridge implementing the highest proportion of biobased materials possible. The result is a so-called bio-basalt balsa (B3) bridge of 15 meters long and 2 meters wide. The bridge spans the waterway between the Ringdijkpark and the Naritaweg at Schiphol Logistics Park and is publicly accessible. Users include employees of the business park wishing to walk the green park and residents of the adjacent Aalsmeerderdijk on their way to the bus stop at Schiphol Logistics Park.

At least 100 years
The manufacture of the bridge deck was as biobased as possible. Basalt fibres and biobased polyester resin are the main raw materials. Advantages of fiber reinforced plastic (also called composite) compared to traditional building materials are its high strength, low energy requirement during construction, low maintenance requirement and long service life. It is both a safe and sustainable building material. Its constructional properties are not subject to rot or corrosion. As a result, the material is expected to last for at least a hundred years. In the meantime it requires no replacement and a minimum of maintenance.

Basalt fibres are made from basalt rock, the volcanic igneous rock created by coagulation of lava. The greatest advantage of the use of the basalt fibre compared to other technical fibres (such as fiberglass) is the strength of the material. Because the fibre is so strong, less material is needed which results in a lightweight bridge. In addition to its strength, the fibre is also fully recyclable. As volcanic rock material the fibre can be melted and extracted and reused after the end of the service life of the bridge.

The resin used for this bridge is partly of natural origin. Polyester resin is produced from a reaction of a large number of molecules with both a carboxylic acid and an alcohol group in the molecular chain. For its production bio-resin glycol from vegetable glycerine is used.

FiberCore Europe has extensive experience in building composite bridges, and produced a bridge with bio resin as early as 2012. In the Schiphol Logistics Park bridge more materials are biobased. This is the combination of materials that makes the project so unique. These materials were never used in a bridge construction before. The step is important in making the product more sustainable and to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society.

The sustainable bridge is the result of the excellent cooperation of all parties involved. Not only technical challenges were overcome, but directors, funders and the client also showed the courage to realize this innovation in deviation from standard procedures.

The composite bridge at Schiphol Logistics Park was made possible by Mafic S.A. as supplier of the basalt fibres, BALTEK VBC by Airex AG, a member of 3A Composites, as supplier of the balsa, Poly Base Produktie B.V. for the processing of the balsa and Royal Haskoning DHV.