A new joint venture in Australia and New Zealand could see thousands of tonnes of large off-the-road (OTR) tyres used in the two country’s mining sectors recycled thanks to the use of two “revolutionary” technologies.
The Energy Estate and InfraCo partnership, REVYRE, has been established to develop and build innovative tyre recycling plants in Australia and New Zealand, using Vertech/RubberJet Valley tyre disintegration and Tyromer rubber devulcanisation.
Currently Australia disposes of over 60,000 t of end of life tyres (ELTs) by exporting them, with some 100,000 t stockpiled in landfills or stockpiled onsite (predominantly within the mining and agricultural sectors), according to the companies.
“With the COAG agreed ban on used tyre exportation from December 2021, the annual growth in Australia’s tyre stockpile will be even greater,” they said.
New Zealand, meanwhile, currently generates 5-6 million ELTs annually, which equates to close to 70,000 t of tyres. These units are either shredded locally for domestic burning in cement kilns as tyre derived fuel (TDF) or are baled and exported for use as TDF in Asia, according to the companies.
“REVYRE seeks to solve this waste problem through the rollout of its innovative combined recycling technology,” the Energy Estate and InfraCo said. “Its projects are modular, scalable and mobile – a total tyre recycling process that will destruct and re-purpose any constituent parts of a tyre, turning it into a high value polymer product for export and clean high tensile scrap steel. The overall process has near zero waste, emissions or by-products and does not use or produce toxic chemicals.”
The tyre derived polymer, or TDP, will be exported for direct re-use in the tyre manufacturing process, according to the companies.
The process uses no chemicals or solvents, is commercially viable on an industrial scale and is the only known environmentally friendly devulcansation technology, they claim. And, while REVYRE’s solution can address all tyre sizes, it is particularly suited to larger OTR tyres, such as those used in mining and agricultural operations in Australia and New Zealand, the companies said.
“REVYRE’s solution can play a critical part in sustainably managing current and future tyre stockpiles,” they said. “It is a financially attractive and environmentally superior solution relative to alternative tyre disposal options. The REVYRE solution will also support the development of a circular economy for ELTs.”
The plants will seek to procure renewable energy for operations as part of a dedication to maintaining a low carbon footprint and lessening the environmental impact of the tyre production cycle, the companies said.
“Energy Estate and InfraCo are committed to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and implementing the REVYRE solution will help achieve eight of the 17 SDGs,” they said. “Production of TDP will save approximately 94% of the energy required to produce the virgin compounds it replaces, as well as significant savings in oil used and avoided deforestation.”
Given the scale and locations of Australia’s mining industry, in particular, there is a sufficient tyre disposal requirement to justify at least two to three REVYRE plants in each of the mainland states, the companies said.
Luke Panchal, Director of Energy Estate, said: “Following the tyre export ban from 2021, Australia will have annually 160,000 t of tyres stockpiling that it needs to address. This means the need for environmentally and socially responsible and cost-effective solutions for managing used tyre disposal in Australia is critical – especially for heavy OTR tyres.
“To date, sustainable, environmentally responsible, economic and easy-to-implement recycling options have not been present in Australia. REVYRE delivers this option and is a solution that addresses tyre disposal in a truly circular process with no emissions and without the use of toxic chemicals. It is a solution that makes economic and environmental sense.”
Shaun Zukor, Director and Co-founder of InfraCo and REVYRE said: “We have developed a compelling New Zealand business case with our technology partners from Canada and Europe and we submitted a Provincial Growth Fund application with the New Zealand government in November 2019.
“Our plans are to start locally with our new partners and to expand into Africa and other territories thereby covering a large part of the globe where our presence will have major environmental, social and economic impacts.
“The technology allows a true circular economy and deals with a part of the mining tyre waste stream that has been extremely difficult to dispose of previously.”