Technology

Australian tire recycler signs $50 million deal to establish plants in South Africa

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Australian tire recycler Green Distillation Technologies, which has developed world- first technology that turns old tires into oil, carbon and steel, has signed an agreement worth up to $50 million to establish up to five tire recycling plants in South Africa.

Volco Power plans to build the plants in five of South Africa’s nine provinces depending on the volume of tires available. Although Volco is comparatively new, its predecessor Synchrona, which had the same directors as Volco, specialized in the conversion of municipal solid waste and used tires into electricity and other forms of energy in over fifteen countries across Africa.

However, due to the problems of obtaining power purchase agreements with government, Volco has now decided to concentrate on providing energy to private industrial clients.

Wilson Machekanyanga, Business Development Manager of Volco said that despite their change in focus, they had still retained their interest in the waste recycling sector and this led to their deal with Green Distillation Technologies and their technology to convert of end-of-life tires into oil, carbon and steel.

“South Africa is a good market for tire recycling as it generates more old tires than all the other Southern African countries put together with more than 300,000 tonnes a year of which less than 20 per cent are recycled, with 60 million kept at illegal storage sites, where they pose a fire hazard and a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” he said.

Trevor Bayley, Chief Operating Officer of Green Distillation Technologies said that they were pleased to have reached this agreement to take their technology to another country.

“We have had enquiries from most of the major countries throughout the world but this is the first Memorandum of Understanding we have signed and clearly our technology can make a significant environmental contribution to South Africa as our process is not only emission free but processes a waste product into high value oil, carbon and steel.

“All the competing approaches to recycling old tires either creates dangerous emissions or the products produced by the process are of low value. In the case of crumbing, or chipping tyres it doesn’t recycle but simply changes the tire into small pieces that will still last 500 years and when it is burnt as furnace fuel creates dangerous emissions and a residue ash that has to go to landfill,” he said.

Mr Bayley said that the plants to be built in South Africa will comprise of six tire processing modules and will process approximately 700,000 old tires per year into eight million litres of oil, 7700 tonnes of carbon black and 2000 tonnes of steel.

“We operate one plant at Warren in Western, New South Wales although it may seem like an out of the way place, it is strategically well located as it is on the Oxley Highway, North West of Dubbo, which is the main truck transport route between Melbourne and Brisbane and is located on a rail link with trains transporting cotton, wheat and wool to the major cities and a backload of old tires is welcome revenue.

“The plant occupies approximately 4 hectares of the 21 hectare site leaving space for expansion and other projects, synergistic industries and tire storage within the limits imposed by NSW Environment Protection Authority.

“We have also secured all the necessary Government approvals for a plant in Toowoomba, Queensland and are in the capital raising stage prior to commencing construction and have had inquiries to building plants in every state of Australia,” he said.

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