PRODUCING ADVANCED NANO-MATERIALS FROM SCRAP TIRES - GOING NANO, WHERE SMALL MEANS BIG

Sustainable Development Goals

Organizations Involved:
Mitsubishi Corporation, Onahama Refining & Smelting Co, Tokyo University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Several Tire Manufacturers & Recyclers 
Services:
Design & Engineering, Turn-Key DBC, Due Diligence, Supply Chain Management, Component Supply

The Challange:

Nanotechnology is expected to revolutionize our world much in the same way that airplanes and telecommunications did during the last century. By manipulation of atoms on a millionth of a cm-scale, engineers are able to create new materials with previously unimaginable properties. Nano-enhanced products are expected to account for 50 percent of all electronics and information technology products and over 25 percent of all healthcare products by 2025.

Mitsubishi Corporation, one of the world's leading trading companies, began working with Klean's technologies in the 1990s to apply its unique combustion technology so that large quantities of low-cost energy, carbon nanotubes, and fullerenes could be produced from alternative feedstocks such as scrap tires in a continuous process.

After a decade of commercial operations and researching advanced material production, a joint pilot project was established in Japan in 2000 capable of producing 0.4TPA of nanomaterial. Since then production quantities have steadily increased as the project has been scaled up from its initial design capacity to now processing approximately 2,500,000 used tires exclusively (approximately 20,000TPA) for this purpose. With full-scale production due to start in the near term, the output is expected to be 7,000TPA of nano recovered carbon black and 700TPA of carbon nanotubes. The parties involved have planned to further expand the production of nano carbons ten-fold by 2025. 

A number of different materials are produced using Klean's technologies:

  • Nanom mix (C60x 60%, C70x 25%, remainder high order fullerene)
  • Nanom purple C60
  • Nanom black - exclusive to Klean Industries
  • Custom made fullerenes derivatives

Benefits realized

  • Production of high-tech material from waste hydrocarbons
  • Reduced emissions and increased energy efficiency
  • Competitive market position improved due to the lower cost of raw material production
  • Preservation of non-sustainable resources
  • 2.5 million tires per year will be recycled for maximum resource efficiency
  • Generation of income through the sale of surplus nanomaterial
  • Utilization and creation of a nanomaterial that is spawning a new era of energy-efficient products e.g. hi-tech batteries, coatings, solar cells, and fuel cells
This project addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by considering the goals and associated targets illustrated by the WBCSD’s Tire Industry Project (TIP). TIP offers a framework for action that outlines impactful pathways for the tire 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 Tire Sector SDG Roadmap". See: https://www.wbcsd.org/Sector-Projects/Tire-Industry-Project/End-of-Life-Tires-ELTs