New Research Project Regarding Fuel from Waste Tires

The aim of the ongoing project in Sweden is to evaluate three different approaches for upgrading pyrolysis oil from tires to more high-quality products, with the main focus on co-upgrading to fuels together with fossil raw materials in refinery processes.

Upgrading of pyrolysis oil from Scandinavian Enviro Systems’ process is carried out in the various scales of RISE test and pilot facilities in Piteå and Södertälje. The project is run by RISE together with the companies Scandinavian Enviro Systems and Ragn-Sells (a collector and recycler of discarded tires in Sweden) with support from Vinnova, a Swedish government agency that administers state funding for research and development.

Recycling of end-of-life tires represents both a big challenge and a great opportunity. Today the old tires are used for their energy content and for making granules used as fillings in artificial turf, to name but a few examples. However, there is potential for more high-value recycling than direct combustion. At the Scandinavian Enviro Systems’ recycling plant in Åsensbruk, discarded tires are recovered in a pyrolysis process, where carbon black, pyrolysis oil, steel and gas are obtained as products. The carbon black, which is today the main product of the process, is sold to the rubber industry. According to Scandinavian Enviro Systems, the pyrolysis oil has great similarities with fossil oil and therefore has potential to be used for the production of – for example – transportation fuels. Natural rubber in the tire also makes the pyrolysis oil partially bio-based; it consists of 48 percent of bio-oil. As reported by the Scandinavian Enviro Systems, the company is currently engaged in active dialogues with stakeholders, such as recycling actors, tire manufacturers, compounders, and industrial engineering facilities, on six continents.

“In recent years, the general materials recycling market has quite clearly shifted. More than ever, political and fundamental market forces are pushing the world to focus more clearly on reducing resource consumption and demand that incineration be replaced with materials recycling,” Enviro System’s CEO, Thomas Sörensson, was quoted. “In addition to our recycled materials’ obvious environmental benefits, they’ve been demonstrated to be on a par with virgin carbon black across a wide range of applications and compounders. Considering that the global market for carbon black is estimated to exceed 25 billion dollars by 2020, the potential for both Enviro’s technology and our recycled materials is inarguable.”

Photo: Enviro

GR 2/2018