“No one knows just how many end-of-life car and truck tyres there are in Australia, but what we do know is that they are an environmental scourge,” says Craig Dunn the CEO of an Australian company that has developed a world-first process for recycling old tyres into oil, carbon and steel.
Green Distillation Technologies is currently commercialising their technology which recycles end of life (ELTs) tyres into saleable commodities of carbon, oil and steel and are now moving to full production with an $8 million upgrade to their original test processing facility in Warren, Western New South Wales with plans for six more plants in Australia.
“The recent Hyder Report indicated that 51 million end of life tyres entered the Australian waste stream in 2013-14 and only 5 per cent were recovered locally.
“Of that total 32 percent were exported where they are mainly used as furnace fuel for brick making in China and Vietnam with the smoke going to the atmosphere, which is an environmental disaster in itself.
“The Hyder Report is conducted every two years to establish baseline data on end of life tyres and how they are handled.
“In addition to those numbers there are dumps, legal and otherwise of old tyres around Australia. We know of one in Stawell, Victoria where there is estimated to be nine to ten million old tyres and there is a stockpile in Northern Tasmania of 1.3 million where we plan to build a $8.5 million plant to process end of life car and truck tyres, which is scheduled to start production in mid-2016.
“But in addition to the known dumps, there are old tyres in the bush and in the sea and collection of these is expensive. As well as being a blot on the landscape, in tropical Australia, rain water gathers in old tyres and provides an ideal breading spot for mosquitos, which is a prime source of the spread of dengue fever,” he said.
The company was recently recognised internationally when they won a bronze medal for their technology in the Edison Awards, which is the world’s top innovation award. They were Australia’s first ever finalist in the awards.
This brought the process to the attention of the United States where they have a similar problem with end-of-life tyres.
It is estimated that they would initially require 30 GDT tyre recycling plants and even then these would only process approximately 18 per cent of the 250 million end of life tyres generated in the US each year.
Recycling a typical end of life 10 kg car tyre will yield 4kg of carbon, 1.5kg of steel and 4 litres of oil while a 70kg truck tyre will provide 28 kg of carbon, 11 kg of steel and 28 litres of oil.
The giant tyres used in mining dump trucks are currently disposed by being buried in old mines but with the proviso that they must be marked with map coordinates and dug up when they can be satisfactorily recycled. When that occurs a typical 3000 kg tyre will yield 1200 kgs of carbon, 600 kg of steel and 1250 litres of oil.
GDT CEO Craig Dunn said that the oil produced from their process can be used as a heating fuel, direct into some stationary diesel engines or is capable of further refinement into automotive or aviation fuels, while the carbon is a high grade product that can replace those sourced from fossil fuels and the steel is returned directly to tyre manufacturers for reuse.
“The process is not only emission free but the recycled oil is used as the heat source for the production process.
“It is the only process available in the world that remanufactures the rubber from old tyres into a different energy form as the other recycling methods merely change the shape or appearance of the rubber.
“Our income will come from selling the oil, carbon and steel, plus a percentage of the recycling fee paid by the motorist to the tyre dealer when they purchase new tyres,” Craig said.
About Green Distillation Technologies: GDT is an Australian company which has developed technology to recycle end‐of‐life tyres into carbon, oil and steel.
Released for Green Distillation Technologies by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (www.drpr.com.au)