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Tire Pyrolysis Is Being Rolled Out In The USA

Pyrolysis of scrap tires offers an environmentally and economically feasible method for transforming waste tires into heat and electrical energy.

Let’s stop filling our landfills with old tires!

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 100 million pounds of tire components discarded during the manufacturing process are dumped in landfills nationally each year because the body ply – the tire’s largest component – can’t be effectively recycled. That is, until tire pyrolysis gains more of a foothold throughout the industry.

Pyrolysis of scrap tires offers an environmentally and economically feasible method for transforming waste tires into heat and electrical energy.

BioEnergy Waste Management’s CEO, Salmon Zafar, noted that pyrolysis is one of the most popular methods for disposal of scrap tires in many parts of the world. Tire-derived fuel (TDF) or pyrolysis oil is one of the largest applications of scrap tires in U.S., however, it is currently being challenged…due to the steep fall in oil prices in recent years.

The article goes on to explain that there is a need for more investment in this technology. Demand will grow over time as population increase cause more pressure on the oil industry.

An innovative startup company, RVS Rubber Solutions, created by two university students, has developed a new technology that extracts the rubber and steel from within the components in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way. Read more about their new process and the complete article in the article by Maura Keller  published in the July issue of AmericanRecycler.com

Here’s more information about tire (or tyre, depending on what part of the world you live in) from Wikipedia :

Waste tire disposal

In the United States alone, over 290 million car tires are discarded annually. Pyrolysis of scrap or waste tires (WT) is an attractive alternative to disposal in landfills, allowing the high energy content of the tire to be recovered as fuel. Using tires as fuel produces equal energy as burning oil and 25% more energy than burning coal.

An average car tire is made up of 50–60% hydrocarbons, resulting in a yield of 38–56% oil, 10–30% gas and 14–56% char. The oil produced is largely composed of benzene, diesel, kerosene, fuel oil and heavy fuel oil, while the produced gas has a similar composition to natural gas. The proportion and the purity of the products are governed by two major factors:

  1. Environment (e.g. pressure, temperature, time, reactor type)
  2. Material (e.g. age, composition, size, type)

As car tires age, they increase in hardness, making it more difficult for pyrolysis to break the molecules into shorter chains. This shifts the yield composition towards diesel oil which is composed of larger molecules. Conversely, an increase in temperature increases the likelihood of breaking the molecule chain and shifts the yield composition towards benzene oil which is composed of smaller molecules. Other products from car tire pyrolysis include steel wires, carbon black and bitumen.

Since the waste tires are widely varied it can be difficult to produce a uniform end product. TDespite this limitation, tire pyrolysis plants are in use in several countries now, including the USA, Japan, India, and France. The black carbon production from the pyrolysis process is used for pigment, strengthening rubber and for UV protection, and has a relatively large and growing market. Let’s roll those old tires into energy, not waste!