Tire recycler, GDT sees international growth despite COVID-19 pandemic

Australian tire recycler Green Distillation Technologies, has developed a world-first process that turns End of Life Tyres (ELT’s) into high value oil, carbon and steel, and despite the coronavirus pandemic looks forward to a strong future with international growth as it consolidates agreements in three key markets.

The company reached an agreement with a tire collection business to increase their commitment from ten tire recycling facilities across the US to fifteen with the construction of three key plants to commence as soon as the regulatory agreements and Government approvals are obtained.

The company also plans to build up to five plans in South Africa, with the first in Cape Town is at the stage of securing Government permission and consolidation of the first customer to buy the recycled carbon and oil. As South Africa has five tire manufacturing plants and five steel mills there is a significant local market demand for the outputs, particularly for the carbon.

A further agreement for three plants in the UK has also been confirmed, and Government and local planning approvals are being sought.

GDT’s Chief Operating Officer Trevor Bayley said that in Australia they want to bring their original commercial facility at Warren, New South Wales to full production capability, build a second plant in Toowoomba, Southern Queensland for which all the Government approvals are in place and they have plans for five further tyre recycling facilities in Gladstone, Wagga, Geelong. Elizabeth and Collie (WA).

“With the international roll out plus Australia, that would make a total of thirty plants, with each having a capacity to process 19,300 tonnes of ELT’s comprising a mix of passenger car, 4WD and truck tires.

“In the light of this burgeoning environmental disposal problem our approach provides a recycling solution as we turn a world problem into valuable and highly saleable materials,” Trevor Bayley said.

“However, although the international scene is rosy that is not the situation in Australia and we may become another example of Australian technology that achieves international success only to have it imported back into the local market after the business has been acquired offshore.

“We have been campaigning to raise $20 million to bring our original commercial facility in Warren to full production capability as well as build Toowoomba and although our current international investment will be in the vicinity of $230 million, it is proving to be very difficult to raise the funds in Australia from local investors, or Government sources.

“I don’t want to diminish the support of the local investors from mums and dads, as well as the members of the Motor Traders Association of Queensland, but the professionals in Australia want a high short term return, while we need a five year commitment.

“Government funding has been very important to us during the R&D phase, but there is a real problem in securing funding to move to the commercial stage,” he said.

“Our approach has always been to build an enterprise which is sustainable for the long term. Our policy is to construct a plant on a purely cost basis so that we maintain our involvement in the plant and provide on-going input to future operations and to be able to implement new technological improvements as our research and development discovers new ways of improving our performance and the return from what we produce.

“For example, we are working with New Zealand innovator CarbonScape, which has developed the means of producing graphite from sawdust from the sawmills close to their facility in Blenheim.

“Each GDT plant is expected to need a permanent workforce of fifteen and
require more people during the construction phase and have a local economic multiplier effect with more people required to collect and deliver ELT’s to the plant.

“What we have done is a world breakthrough and we believe that in time our technology will eventually become the preferred means of recycling ELT’s throughout the world,” Trevor Bayley said.

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