Green Distillation Technologies, a company that specializes in the recycling of end-of-life tires has announced that it has finalized a deal to set up its first recycling facility in the United States. One interesting aspect about this deal is that provided the company runs its first plant successfully, it will receive funding to the tune of USD 100 million to set up additional plants in the United States.
GDT’s chief operating officer Trevor Bayley went to the United States to sign the agreement on the company’s behalf and said it was the outcome of a lot of work that was done to negotiate an agreement that was both effective and workable.
The problem of disposal of used tires is one that causes serious concern in the United States with the country generating over 250 million end-of-life tires every year. This is ten times the quantity in Australia, where the corresponding figure is 25 million. India and China are two other markets where the problem of disposal of old tires is fast becoming an issue. Across the globe, the total number of used tires generated every year comes to a staggering figure of over one and a half billion tires, according to Bayley.
He said, “In the light of this burgeoning environmental disposal problem, our approach provides a recycling solution as we turn a problem into valuable and salable materials. For example, our oil has been described as light crude, which is low in sulfur and easy to refine into petrol, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum based products.”
He said that the carbon GDT produces from tires is a high-grade product that offers immense potential and can be sold in the form of carbon black. Carbon black is used in the manufacture of many products like tires, plastics and paints, water filtration, printer ink, paint, electrodes, graphene, toothpaste, and cosmetics like mascara, eyeliner, nail polish, eye shadow, blushes, rouge and lipstick. The steel reinforcing mesh and beading used in tires can be fully recycled for use in new tires or converted into scrap steel.
GDT has ambitious plans to ramp up the capacity of its processing plant at Warren in Western New South Wales up to full production in 12 months. It has also received full government approvals for another planned facility in Toowoomba, South Queensland and it is expected to reach its full operational capacity in 18 months. The investment required for both these plants is about USD 20 million.
Bayley said that the company has investigated other potential sites for setting up plants in Australia as its five-year plan involves setting up seven factories across Australia to process 30 percent of the 25 million end-of-life tires Australia generates every year.
With six modules and operating 24/7, every plant processes a mix of 19,000 metric tons of tires on an annual basis. Generally, a typical tire that weighs about 10 kilos when recycled would yield about 4 liters of oil, 4kg of carbon and 2 kg of steel. A truck tire that weighs about 70 kg would yield 27 liters of oil, 28 kg of carbon and 15 kg of steel. The tire fitted on an oversize mining dump truck which weighs about 4 metric tons would yield 1.6 metric tons of carbon, 0.8 metric tons of steel and 1,500 liters of oil.
Each plant typically needs a permanent workforce of 15 employees, with more people being needed during the construction phase. The establishment of a new plant would have an economic multiplier effect on the local economy with many more people being needed to collect and deliver the old tires to the plant.
Bayley said that the company’s world-first tire recycling process has attracted interest from different parts of the world. GDT had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding for setting up five processing plants in South Africa which are valued at over AUD 50 million.
“Therefore, it is no wonder that we have also welcomed visitors to our Warren plant from almost every country on the planet including Japan, Thailand, Canada, the USA, the Middle East, Pakistan and India to name a few.
“What we have done is a world breakthrough and we believe that in time our technology will eventually become the preferred means of recycling old tires throughout the world,” Bayley concluded.
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