USA: Showcasing sustainable carbon black manufacturing process for the tire / rubber industry

Organizations Consulted: Eldan, CRR, Oregon DEQ, Rock Enterprises, Port of Morrow, multiple EPC's firms

The Challenge:

North America is one of the world's largest producers of end-of-life tires, currently generating over 500,000,000 tires every year. Similar numbers are stockpiled and monofills containing tens of millions of tires are not uncommon and these landfills are growing every day. Current markets for tire-derived products are all low-end applications with state funding usually required to provide a waste management solution for tire disposal.

The current challenge for many states is to reduce the burden on their taxpayer while recovering greater value from their wastes either in the form of energy or recovered resources. The state of Oregon has strict environmental regulations and is a hub for thermal processing technologies in the cleantech sector. Oregon also generates significant volumes of waste tires, and currently, the biggest outlet for scarp tires is tire-derived fuel ("TDF") which produces massive amounts of air pollution. 

The Solution:

Klean Industries has identified an opportunity to bring a new industry to the State of Oregon, one that produces high-quality, green commodities, and energy from the waste generated from the automobile industry, specifically scrap tires from Northern California and Southern Washington. Klean's planned Resource Recovery Facility will not require any subsidies and will provide a fully sustainable solution to the region's +5m scrap tires. Klean plans on solving part of the issue by using the company's patented advanced thermal conversion technology to recover fuel oil, steel, and a refined carbon black. The high-quality end products will be comparable to virgin commodities with the exception of being far more cost-effective with a substantially low carbon footprint.

Klean's tire pyrolysis and gasification technology was developed in Japan in the early 1970's and was the world's first thermal process specifically designed to recover oil and energy from waste tires. Klean further refined this technology with the acquisitions of several other complementary technologies, such as the merger between Carbon Resource Recovery GmbH. Historically, Japan has always been short on energy and fuel resources and keen on finding viable substitutions. It should be noted that Japan was already producing bio-diesel oil 70 years ago with the Japanese engaging in World War 2 and yet Bio-diesel production has only recently become a topic of alternative energy conversations.

With the application of advanced thermal technologies to convert industrial waste into valuable resources, this project offers significant long-term benefits to the State of Oregan.  

Klean has secured enough feedstock from its feedstock partner to run this new facility for 121 years at full capacity. Klean's feedstock partners own a significant monfill with approximately 5m tonnes of scrap tires located within a few hours from the Boardman facility. The business has been in operation for over 30 years and will be able to supply 160 metric tonnes of tires per day. The disposal of these unsuitable truck tire casings has an increasingly high cost both environmentally and financially. Through this partnership, Klean intends to change the complete tire recycling supply chain and plans on rapidly expanding its tire capture capacity to neighboring states.

Klean has secured a fully permitted 18-acre site and able to process 160 tons a day of scrap tires at full capacity, that's approximately 16,000 tires a day. Klean has designed this facility to be a North America flagship facility, which is located in close proximity to Portland and is located near major highways for excellent product logistics for both its tire feedstock and end-product distribution. Klean has long-term plans to roll out a minimum of 15 facilities in the United States alone.

Benefits Realized:

The end result is the preservation of finite resources through the production of the following sustainable commodities (approximate volume):

  • +6 million tires a year recycled
  • 100's of job created in a region that requires economic development
  • 6MW of electricity generated for export
  • 22,000 TPA of CBk carbon black
  • 32,000 TPA of diesel grade fuel oil
  • 10,000 TPA of steel
  • 300,000 TPA of Carbon Dioxide emission offset