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World’s first extra-large tire recycling plant to open next year

Close up of old used tires and shredded tire pile

The world’s first recycling plant to handle extra-large tires, such as those used on mining dump trucks, will open in Perth, Western Australia in June 2018.

The venture is a collaboration between the Tytec Group and Green Distillation Technologies, a global award-winning tire recycling technology company.

They have jointly established Perth based Tytec Recycling Pty Ltd to undertake economic green recycling of large tires, referred to as OTR or off the road tires, which are classified as those with rim sizes ranging from 25 to 63 inches and are used on the large mining dump trucks.

GDT has developed world-first Australian technology that will recycle end-of-life tires into oil, carbon and steel using their ‘destructive distillation’ process. Transport of tires from mine sites around Australia to the recycling plant will be undertaken by Tytec Logistics which has over 75% of the national OTR logistics market as well as providing storage for the extra-large tires.

The plant, which will completely recycle the whole tires and not cut or crumb the rubber, will be located on the Tytec facility at in the Perth suburb of Welshpool. It will have a capacity of 5,000 tonnes of OTR tires per year, which will amount to over 2 million litres of oil, approximately 2,000 tonnes of carbon and 1,000 tonnes of steel.

The Hyder Report in 2013-14 estimated that there are 155,000 tonnes of OTR end-of-life tires of various sizes generated in Australia each year of which 79.4 per cent are left on site as currently there is no economic and green method of recycling them.

The recycling benefits are considerable as by using the GDT technology a tire that weighs 3.5 tonnes will yield 1,500 litres of oil, 1.5 tonnes of carbon, as well as the steel reinforcing which can go back to the tire manufacturer for reuse.

The actual cost of the plant is based on engineering estimates of $8.5M and will be quantified once the final engineering and construction contracts have been determined. The OTR plant differs from a conventional passenger/truck tire recycling plant as the chamber will be ten times larger and consequently the material cost will be significantly higher.

Currently there is no means of recycling whole OTR tires and the usual method of disposal in Australia is to bury them in a dumping area on mine sites, or in an EPA nominated dumping area. The GPS coordinates of the dump together with the serial number of each tire disposed of in this way must be provided to the EPA.

Green Distillation Technologies Chief Operating Officer Trevor Bayley said the construction of the world’s first processing plant for whole OTR tires comes after more than twelve months of logistical research and development work undertaken at the designated Tytec Recycling R&D plant which is a section of the GDT facility in Warren, New South Wales.

“This work has developed a solution to the problem of handling a four-tonne tire with a diameter of 4 metres or more, through a complex heat and chemical process at sufficient volume to make it economically viable.

“Our process will turn a very large and difficult to handle environmental waste problem into high value commodities, which is a result consistent with the highest aspirations of the circular economy”, Trevor Bayley said.

Tytec Recycling Chairman Brett Fennell said that the OTR recycling process had huge export potential for Australia.

“We attended MinExpo, the world’s biggest mining expo in Las Vegas last year and our process was the sensation of the show. We received enquiries from mining companies in Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and Chile and the market in these countries is immense as they all have large mining industries and no current economic green means of recycling their used OTR tires.

“The construction of this OTR tire recycling facility is an important step for the Australian mining industry as up to this stage the problem was being buried for the next generation to solve.

“For us, as a company, it adds the final piece to the puzzle that will enable us to offer the mining and industrial sectors a complete a cradle to grave solution for OTR tires by utilising a green economic disposal method.

“The environmental benefit of recycling very large and hard to handle tires that have finished their useful life into high grade reusable commodities such as oil, carbon and steel is an absolute world break through.

“As well as the Australian market for recycling OTR tires, we believe that we can play a key role in helping to introduce this unique locally developed technology to the world,” Brett Fennell said.

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