Scottish Company Set to Receive Funding for Tyre Recycling Process
A young Scottish company that has developed an environmentally friendly process for recycling used tyres is close to securing a million pound funding deal. RecyclaTech, established last year after being spun out from Edinburgh’s Napier University, is in line to receive this cash injection so it can establish a pilot processing plant, hire additional staff and look at ways to get production going.
The company’s management team is led by chairman and biotech start-up old-hand John Pool, and is hopeful of rapid progress towards further financing, including the raising of an additional £10m to set up a commercial processing facility.
It is estimated that 40 million tyres are disposed of each year in the UK. European Union regulations mean that rubber tyres can no longer be disposed of in landfill sites and must be treated as a priority waste product.
Alternative methods of disposal such, as being used as a fuel, introduce pollutants to the atmosphere and under the new legislation need to meet strict Environment Agency emission guidelines. As a result, a number of companies have thrown their hat into the tyre recycling ring.
RecyclaTech says its devulcanisation technology, “DART”, which was developed by a team of scientists led by Professor Nick Christof, director of Napier University’s pollution research unit, is reported to be more efficient than rival systems and less environmentally harmful.
Initial end products made through the process will be rubber for carpet underlay as well as solid and industrial remoulded tyres. It is hoped that further research and development will lead to the company’s products being used in the production of new car tyres. At present, the amount of used rubber in a tyre is typically 5 per cent, but RecyclaTech reckons its treatment process can raise that to as much as 25 per cent.
“We are aware that we can now produce rubber utilising this process,” said Pool. We’ve already produced about a tonne of rubber, which demonstrates the functionality of the process.
“Now we are going up to the pilot plant stage to produce rubber to give to organisations to try in their processes.
He added that the company are currently in ‘various discussions’ and would most likely base their first plant in Scotland. From there the company would probably look at the Midlands or consider franchising options. “We already have a potential franchise partner in the United States,” he commented. No names have been mentioned at this time.
The technology used in RecyclaTech’s process was developed in 2003 by Professor Christof’s team at Napier University, where they received a £160,000 proof-of-concept award from Scottish Enterprise. Since its inception, the company has been supported financially by its directors, including Pool. The first round of external funding is likely to come from the business angel community.
Ultimately, RecyclaTech intends to licence its technology globally, and the company believes the process has the potential of leading to cheaper tyres.