TURNING LOW-VALUE TYRE PYROLYSIS CHAR INTO HIGH-QUALITY CARBON BLACK FILLERS FOR TYRE MANUFACTURING

Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 3 - Good Health and Well-being, Goal 4 - Quality Education, Goal 5 - Gender Equality, Goal 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation, Goal 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Goal 10 - Reduced Inequalities, Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production Organizations Involved: GreenCarbon, multiple tyre pyrolysis firms Services: Plant Design & Engineering, Due Diligence, Supply Chain Management, Component Supply

The Challenge:

India has over 1.4 billion people and it suffers from one of the world’s worst pollution crises, which causes massive rates of disease and early death. Much like China, India has been going through a significant economic change over the past several decades. With the significant increase in energy costs, the Indian industrial sector is on the hunt for low-cost abundant energy. Like many developing countries in South East Asia, India has found energy locked inside high calorific waste streams such as waste plastics and scrap tires. Since 2010 there has been explosive growth in the installation and use of low-grade Chinese tyre pyrolysis plants that are cheap, quick to install, and highly polluting. 

In 2019, a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) states that in 19 states of the country there are 637 Chinese tyre pyrolysis units out of which 270 are not complying with the CPCB rules. As a result of ongoing investigations, the CPCB reported that out of 637 tyre pyrolysis units, 251 units are complying, and 116 units are closed.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has instructed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to manage the import of unwanted tyres for use in the pyrolysis industry that produce extremely high levels of pollution that also have negative impacts on the health of the workers who are involved in the operation of these low-grade pyrolysis plants.

As a result of the growth of scrap tyre imports to India to fuel these pyrolysis plants, India's Hazardous Waste Management Rules have implemented further restrictions on waste tyre imports to regulate the location of such units in light of the carrying capacity of the area in which these plants operate. Restrictions are on scrap tyre imports so as to ensure that India does not become a dump yard for highly polluting hazardous waste material.

The CPCB has stated that once scrap tyres are imported they are either reused in vehicles, even though most are unsuitable for road use and are hazardous, or they are processed in low-grade pyrolysis plants to recover cheap oil. Chinese pyrolysis plants are all across India and have recently come under serious review from several states for failing to meet environmental pollution standards.

While these low-cost pyrolysis plants provide cheap fuel oil for use in brick manufacturing facilities and other industrial energy applications, the use of the char has not been addressed due to the lack of technical know-how and proper pyrolysis operating procedure to produce a product that is acceptable for reuse by the manufacturing sector. This then leads to char being landfilled, burned, and or disposed of into retirement creating an environmental disaster that poisons waterways and the air people breathe. 

The Solution:

In 2015, Klean Industries made the decision to enter the developing pyrolysis industry in India to help solve some of the increasing pollution issues created by lack of technological know-how associated with the use of low-grade pyrolysis systems. A critical part of the value proposition regarding tyre pyrolysis plants is upgrading of the pyrolysis products, regardless of the pyrolysis technology used. The upcycling of the pyrolysis char product requires specialized processing know-how and key technology to achieve the desired results.

The solution to producing a consistent Recovered Carbon Black (rCB) product is directly linked to:

  1. the feedstock (char) quality;
  2. the technology selection and the configuration of equipment needed based on the feedstock;
  3. the processing know-how needed to achieve continuous operations.

These three specific components are crucial and if any one part of these processes is not done correctly then any solution presented will not work as designed. It is this combined integration of the three steps above that make a solution work. This process also needs operator training with qualified engineering people.  

As a result, the KleanTeam designed and installed 3 tyre pyrolysis char upgrading plants in India and has further supplied 2 other projects with Klean Industries' equipment that was owner installed for a total of 5 processing plants specially designed for tyre pyrolysis char upgrading. India is a very challenging environment in which to work and based on experience is best done with a knowledgeable engineering partner. Our team is now working with a number of parties in India to continue the deployment of Klean's technology solutions as we endeavor to significantly improve the development of the tyre pyrolysis recycling sector. 

If you have tyre pyrolysis project in India and need help, please contact us >> GO.

Benefits Realized:

The end result is the significant reduction of environmental pollution and the upcycling of tyre pyrolysis char into a high-grade commercial filler product that is used in off-road tire production, rubber automotive parts manufacturing, and plastic masterbatch applications (approximate volume):

  • Est 75,000 TPA of tyre char is 100% recycled and reused in applications that use N300 to N700 series carbon black
  • Developed a new domestic carbon black filler market to fill a massive demand for rCB
  • Significantly reduced air and landfill pollution by upcycling tyre pyrolysis char in high quality pelletized rCB
  • Est 75,000 TPA of carbon dioxide emission offset
  • Jobs creation and innovation in a region that requires economic development
This project addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by considering the goals and associated targets illustrated by the WBCSD’s Tyre Industry Project (TIP). TIP offers a framework for action that outlines impactful pathways for the tyre sector to contribute to the ambitions of the SDGs. To learn more about how Klean's approach, solutions, and technologies contribute to advancing the SDGs please review the report called "Sustainability Driven: Accelerating Impact with the Tyre Sector SDG Roadmap". See: https://www.wbcsd.org/Sector-Projects/Tire-Industry-Project/End-of-Life-Tires-ELTs