New technology separates liquid asphalt, fibre and aggregate from roofing shingles

Northstar Clean Technologies, a clean technology company focused on the recovery and reuse of single-use asphalt shingles, recently raised $12.24 million and subsequently listed it on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Northstar’s Bitumen Extraction and Separation Technology (BEST) uses a proprietary process to separate the liquid asphalt, fibers and aggregate sand from discarded or defective asphalt roof shingles destined for landfill.

In an era where technology companies often go public while still in the conceptual phase, Northstar has a fully constructed facility in Delta, BC, in the commercialization phase with stable production expected in the fourth quarter of 2021.

ROOF has five expected revenue streams: gratuities (paid by waste carriers and roofers), asphalt sales, fiber sales, aggregate sales, and carbon credits.

While asphalt shingles may not have the aesthetic appeal of copper roofs or cedar shakes, they are the most popular roofing material in North America due to their low cost, weight and durability. Asphalt shingles represent more than 80 percent of roofs built in North America today.

An asphalt shingle roof usually has a lifespan of 15 years, after which it is torn off and replaced. Each year, 12 million tons of asphalt shingles are sent to landfills in North America, of which only 1 million tons is recycled into road pavement. That translates to mountains of dirty asphalt shingles in landfills in North America every year.

Tipping fees (surcharges paid to dump the old shingles) have steadily risen as governments around the world advocate for a more circular economy as they work to reduce landfill waste.

A survey of 13 roofing companies from Vancouver, BC confirmed that environmental concerns have spread to the front lines of the asphalt roofing industry.

“Every clapboard that breaks down here in Vancouver goes straight to the landfill,” confirms Will Franklin, owner of Canuck Roofing. “That’s definitely a huge waste and the wrong thing to do.”

Franklin reports that tipping costs have tripled in the past decade.

“Accessibility is going to be a big thing,” Franklin adds, “The ideal scenario would be a recycling company that picks up the shingles itself, at a lower rate.”

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