Innovations have always punctuated the history of Colas. Created to exploit a patent, the company has maintained this pioneering spirit, continuing to develop innovative products, processes and solutions. The research is in Colas’ DNA.
The Colas Highway Company (CBC) was created in 1929 to exploit the patent for the first truly operational bitumen emulsion: Cold Asphalt, which gave the company its name. This is a breakthrough innovation for road construction. Colas acquires a laboratory and launches research. In the 1930s, new types of emulsions as well as new manufacturing and construction techniques were developed. Technology and innovation have shaped Colas' culture from the very beginning.
In the 1970s, traffic is growing and roads now require increasingly efficient bituminous binders. In collaboration with Shell, Colas develops Colflex®, a range of bitumen modified with SBS elastomers (styrene-butadiene-styrene). This modification gives the bitumen elastic properties that guarantee exceptional resistance to traffic and aging. This type of bitumen is still used today.
This translucent and aesthetic substitute for bitumen received considerable resonance in 2005 and has helped make Colas a pioneer in the adventure of plant-based binders. This ambition is still running strong today, and for the future, through a "Green Chemistry" project aimed at studying the various possibilities of substituting petroleum products with equivalents based on renewable resources.Colas is focusing on providing innovative solutions with even greater respect for both people and the environment.
Creating new functions for infrastructure is what Wattway and Flowell solutions can do. Designed by the Campus for Science and Techniques (CST) in collaboration with INES (French National Institute of Solar Energy) and unveiled in 2015, Wattway is the first photovoltaic road surface in the world. The roadway can provide clean, renewable electricity and bear all types of vehicle traffic. The Flowell dynamic light signaling solution, designed by Colas CST and CEA-Tech, provides safety and fluidity to all types of urban mobility.