EarthFirst – promising new tire recycling technology
By Mike Hanlon
August 10, 2006
August 11, 2006 There are currently more than 1.3 billion tires sold each year, in a global market worth US$100 billion a year. With 75% of this total being for the replacement of worn out tyres, there are roughly one billion tyres each year being discarded. The sheer mass of discarded tires is a massive problem before the wasted resource is considered. When tires are recycled, they are either shredded for highway construction or playground use, burned in kilns, or destroyed through pyrolysis (burned in the absence of oxygen) at a high temperature (around 2,200 degrees) and high pressure. This typically destroys or degrades many of the valuable components that make up a tire. A new proprietary tire processing system holds the promise of effectively recycling this vast resource, producing usable energy and a broad range of valuable products, including steel, carbon, oil and a high energy gas. EarthFirst burns tires in a vacuum at a third of the typical pyrolysis temperature, preserving tire components and satisfying even the strictest emissions regulations. Remarkably, the process can recover the following from each one typical 20-pound passenger tyre: eight pounds of carbon, one gallon of oil, two pounds of steel and 30 cubic feet of combustible gas.
A typical EarthFirst plant uses a proprietary catalyst to convert tires at rapid rates and is designed to handle 48 tons per day (4,800 tires). Which is approximately 12 MILLION tires or 120,000 tons per year. That’s 12 million tires that DO NOT end up in a land fill; but instead contribute to the effort to utilize energy in a way that will most benefit society. The first plant is now processing tire chips in Mobile, Alabama.