The district - in Gansu province, North-West China - will be 49km long and 23km wide when fully constructed, a decade from now.
An ABA 320 UniBatch asphalt-mixing plant from Swiss-headquartered Amman will produce asphalt for all elements of the district’s infrastructure. The plant will operate almost continuously over the next decade to supply the needed asphalt mix. It has a production capacity of 320 tonnes per hour.
“It is a long and large project – the biggest national new district in China,” said Ma Shengjun of Gansu Road & Bridge Maintenance.
The development of the Lanzhou district, the fifth in China, is seen as essential to the country’s future. “It is the important connection point between the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian continental bridge,” Shengjun said. The Silk Road Economic Belt is one component of the larger Belt and Road Initiative, an enormous international infrastructure development project.
“The project is to build a bridgehead for the development of the western region, and to build a modern, small-scale city on the Silk Road,” Shengjun added. “This makes the district an important economic growth point in northwest China – a key industrial base for the country. It is also an important strategic platform opening to the west.”
Shengjun said that the selection of the ABA UniBatch for this project is a story in itself. The Lanzhou area is mostly undeveloped, and the few asphalt plants there or nearby are low-cost, domestic alternatives that offer limited technology and production.
The highly advanced ABA UniBatch is claimed to be a significant improvement on these plants. “This is hard to imagine in northwest China,” Shengjun said. The purchase of the plant “shocked the market,” he added.
The ABA UniBatch’s green features were the key factor in the purchase. The Chinese government has dictated that emissions be minimised, and other sustainable efforts taken – including covering the entire plant to lessen dust, reduce sound and provide aesthetic appeal.
“Gansu Road & Bridge chose the Ammann plant, which is famous for its environmental protection, high efficiency and stability,” Shengjun said.
ABA UniBatch plants utilise an exceptionally efficient drying and heating process that conserves energy and ultimately reduces costs. The burner control regulates the drying process to ensure reduced fuel consumption and low emissions. The proprietary as1 Control System also adds efficiency – and makes plant operation intuitive, too.
Plant management can choose the most cost-effective fuel options including natural gas, light fuel oil, heavy fuel oil and LPG. Fume and noise mitigation systems are available, as is full cladding – an option chosen by Gansu.
“The plant has become the highest standard in northwest China,” Shengjun said. “It will have an impact on the country.”