Everyone knows that old tyres are hard to bury and dirty to burn, but a US company has cooked up a solution for converting them into fuel.
The Global Resource Corporation has designed a microwaving system which turns the tyres into oil that can serve as a feedstock at an oil refinery or substitute directly for diesel fuel in some applications; gases that can be burned to make electricity: and a solid material that can be burned in coal plants.
The New Jersey company is set to open a new factory that makes giant microwave chambers for recycling the tyres.
Roughly 300 tyres – that’s about three tonnes – has about as much fuel value as a barrel of oil, according to Jay E. Gill, a salesman for Global Resources.
He points out that tyres were mostly oil to begin with and that microwaving merely rearranges the hydrogen and carbon molecules.
A plant using Global Resource’s microwave machine processing one ton per hour would cost about $7.5 million, including $2.4 million for the microwaving machine, plus tyre shredders and other equipment.
Mr Gill claimed that such a plant would be able to produce a surplus of about 400 kilowatts more electricity than the microwave machine consumes.
That amount of electricity might run a small supermarket.
Many processors today put old tyres through a process called pyrolysis, which means heating them to high temperature without oxygen.
Another solution is to grind them up into “tyre-derived fuel,’’ which can be used in cement kilns or paper mills.
Oliver Hall, Operations Team