Converting Waste Tyres in Road Fuels & Quality Recovered Carbon Black

Organizations Involved: Klean Industries (UK) Ltd., Defra, Intowaste, NISP, & many tire manufacturers & tire retailers

The Challenge:

Every year in the United Kingdom 500,000 tonnes of end-of-life tires require a waste management solution. No longer allowed to be dumped in landfills or incinerated along with other problematic wastes, tires must undergo some form of recycling or recovery. However, the properties that make tyres so safe and durable during their lifetime, make them so difficult to dispose of in an environmentally sound and cost-effective manner.

Current disposal routes such as chipping and crumbing produce low value, oversupplied products while the use of tyres as a cheap fuel for the cement industry is becoming more restricted due to the high emissions produced. As a result, there is an insufficient global capacity to deal with all the waste tire arisings. Tyres are now banned from landfill in the entire European Union.

The Solution:

Klean Industries, a specialist in waste tire recycling, has been developing its position in the UK over the last few years and is proposing a unique advanced thermal conversion technology as a solution to the scrap tire problem. The tertiary technology will use pyrolysis and gasification dynamics to recover the main materials used in tire production - namely oil, carbon black, and steel. The high-quality end products will be comparable to virgin commodities, except they will be less expensive and greener.

The technology developed in Japan in the early 1970's was the world's first thermal process specifically designed to recover oil from tires, it has since been refined and fully commercialized mant times over with facilities using the same platform technology. Klean Industries now owns the intellectual property and patents associated with this technology and plans to replicate these plants, but with a customized carbon upgrading process downstream of the thermal treatment to produce high-value nano carbon blacks from the char. The homogenous, general-purpose carbon blacks can be used again as a binder or filler in rubber or plastic manufacturing or utilized within the asphalt industry.

The company has recently taken an option on a suitable site, secured the feedstock, and has already sold all of the commodity production in a ten-year agreement. The planned Resource Recovery Facility will be the company's European flagship operation, capable of recycling in excess of 120 tonnes of tires a day. A unique feature of this technology is that the reactor takes whole tires on a continuous basis, thereby avoiding the need for expensive pre-treatment, typically a two-stage chipping operation. In addition to the carbon black, oil, and steel the company will generate electricity from the syn-gas generated by the process, due to the highly efficient design of the technology.

The End Result is the preservation of finite resources through the production of the following sustainable commodities:

  • 4.4 million tires a year recycled
  • 3.0 MWe of electricity generated for export
  • 14,500 TPA of CBk carbon black
  • 22,000 TPA of diesel grade fuel oil
  • 4,500 TPA of steel
  • 150,000 TPA of CO2e emission offset