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Sector Research: Tyre Recycling

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End-of-life tyres, henceforth ELTs, are a significant waste problem. Billions ELTs are generated worldwide each year, with billions more currently stockpiled. ELTs have a complex construction which means they do not naturally decompose. It is also not easy to recycle ELTs.

In the first part of this report, we examine what is currently done with ELTs. Typically, they are combusted to reclaim their energy content. That’s to say, physically broken up for reuse in rubber products, or dumped in landfill.

In the second part, we look at how how to deal with ELTs more effectively. The report gives a future perspective from both commercial and environmental point of views. This report also explains the tyre recycling using pyrolysis, the thermal decomposition of materials in the absence of oxygen. See full report to read the full introduction.

Topics Covered

Background – The background covers the Tyre Composition; Pneumatic tyres have a complex construction. It also explains the scale of the problem; this year approximately 1.8 billion ELTs will be generated worldwide which is up by 30%, since 2014.

Dealing with ELTs: When a tyre becomes worn to the point of being dangerous and illegal, there are several options to deal with such a tyre:

  1. Retread
  2. Dump in Landfill
  3. Use as Fuel
  4. Ruse Whole
  5. Recycle Physically or Thermally breaking up the Tyre

Tyre Recycling: It would be neat if ELTs could be recycled directly into new tyres. Civil engineering applications provide common examples of repurposing and physical breakdown of ELTs.
ELTs are most often recycled by being physically broken down into rubber chips, crumb or powder, depending on the application (the steel is removed).

Thermal Recycling and Pyrolysis: This section reveals what currently happens with ELTs with some focus on Carbon Black & Market.

Tyre Pyrolysis: Tyre pyrolysis is a process which takes tyres and turns them into three saleable products:

Recovered Carbon Black (rCB)

The report covers Inputs, Outputs, Pyrolysis Oil, Recovered Carbon Black (rCB), Scrap Steel and also it focuses on its profitibility. The report also points out Pyrolysis Companies along with the Market Potential.

Appendix – Summary of Thermal Processes.

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