The $8.5 million plant to process end of life car and truck tyres that was proposed for Longford, Tasmania will not proceed if the Local Council does not end its move to revoke Tyre Recycle Tasmania’s permit to store tyres on their site beyond March 2016.
The plant was to be built by an Australian company, Green Distillation Technologies Corporation which earlier this year won a bronze medal for their world first Australian technology in the US Edison Awards, the world’s top innovation award. They were Australia’s first ever finalist in the awards.
GDTC had planned to start work on their site in Longford, which is adjacent to the tyre storage area this month and to have the facility operating in June 2016, but the Northern Midland Council has become impatient and has decreed that the temporary planning permit for the existing tyre dump of 1.3 million tyres will be revoked in March 2016.
GDT CEO Craig Dunn said that the move by the Council will make the proposed plant unviable as the combination of stockpile and annual regular volume is necessary to make the economics work. By the time Tyre Recycle Tasmania’s stockpile has been exhausted it is anticipated that GDTC will have extended the scope of their process to include mining and agricultural tyres for which there is currently no solution.
“We have been doing the preparation work for the development application for the plant, but this requires that we lodge a non-refundable fee of $25,000 which will be lost if we don’t proceed and clearly unless we get a written undertaking from the Council that the tyre storage ban will be lifted it would not make commercial sense for us to build the plant without long term access to supply of end- of life-tyres (ELTs).
“The $25,000 fee to lodge the DA is much higher than for other regions. For example the fee for the application for our New South Wales plant was $8000.
“The Council does not seem to understand that we are developing a world first Australian technology that is complex to build and will take several years of production to provide a return on the investment.
“Tasmania generates 480 to 500,000 end of life car and truck tyres each year and already there is a stockpile of 1.3 million tyres in Longford waiting to be processed and the proposed plant will handle 658,000 end of life car and truck tyres each year.
“GDT recycling of 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. We see no difficulty in selling the oil in Tasmania but the recovered carbon and steel may need to be exported.
“Our Warren New South Wales plant is going through the commissioning stage after operating as a test facility since 2009 and we expect to be producing oil, carbon and steel from old car and truck tyres by December.
“The commissioning of a plant is an exacting and methodical process as we need to stress test equipment so that we can set safe production limits.
“We have operated the pilot plant in Warren since 2009 and the upgrade to full production will see it capable of processing 19,000 tonnes, or a mix of 658,000 car and truck tyres per year. This represents approximately 3% of the 24 million end-of-life tyres that are generated in Australia each year.
“We are well advanced in getting the Tasmanian plant into operation, which will be the second such facility in the world, as we have leased the site we require, with an option to purchase, but if we are blocked by the Council we have many offers from other regions and overseas countries that want us to build a plant in their area and we would move to take up these alternatives.
“The reason we were attracted to Tasmania is entirely due to the work of Tim Chugg of Tyre Recycle Tasmania so the move to rescind his licence to store tyres from March 2016 is a real slap in the face after all his hard work and his dedication to the cause of recycling old tyres.
“He has been to our plant at Warren to see for himself how it works and came away enthusiastic to bring a plant to Tasmania.
“Our process is unique as the oil produced from the GDT 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 Dunn said.
Tasmanian tyre dealer Tim Chugg of Tyre Recycle Tasmania has been very supportive of the venture and feels that he is now the ‘ham in the sandwich’.
“I have had a temporary licence to store the tyres on the Longford site which was until December 2016 but this has now been brought forward to March 2016.
“By revoking the permit I will then have to clear the site by 2020 but no one has explained to me what I am supposed to do with 1.3 million tyres.
“This entire situation has not been thought through and I only hope some wise heads prevail to come up with a solution before we reach a locked in stalemate position.
“I am sure that is the wish of every Tasmanian who will want to see a solution found for the disposal of end-of-life tyres, which are a major environmental problem,” Tim Chugg 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)