Welsh JV Liquid Nitrogen Facility Opens
TyreGenics’ new £4 million recycling facility in Baglan, South Wales is now open and operational. The facility, which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze shreds of tyres to below –80C before pulverising them into tiny crumbs, is the first facility of its type in northern Europe. The new plant is said to have a capacity of 80 tonnes per day and will create more than 30 jobs now that it is open. The ground breaking collaboration by majority shareholder Credential Environmental and BOC, Field Turf and RTI was backed by £1.4 million of European development funding. Crucially, like the announcement that its cement works plans are going ahead, the Welsh TyreGenics plant opening provides a new and disposal route for reprocessed ELTs.
The TyreGenics process uses liquid nitrogen to freeze shreds of tyre to below -80˚C, at which point they become brittle, then mechanical ‘hammers’ to smash the rubber into ‘crumb’. The product has a number of uses, including the production of artificial sports pitches, insulation products and rubber flooring. And it is here that the project can be distinguished from previous efforts to use cryogenic technology. This North American connection with Canadian companies Field Turf and Cryogenic systems maker, RTI, provides both the means to produce the technology and a secure sales route. According to the company, 70 per cent of production for the next three years has already been bought by Field Turf.
Commenting on this, Nick Wyatt, managing director of TyreGenics said: “FieldTurf will take around two-thirds of the production of the ‘crumb’ but we are getting all types of enquiries from people looking to use it in widely varying areas of manufacturing. The scarcity of rubber ‘crumb’, and its value as a recycled green manufacturing alternative to other materials, means there are many potential customers for the remaining production.”
According to TyreGenics officials the remaining third of production will be used in a variety moulded products – and there is even the potential for some tyre usage. In addition TyreGenics crumb is said to be ideal for Rubber Modified Asphalt.
Chairman of TyreGenics and Credential Environmental, Andy Hinton said: “We need to encourage a holistic approach to handling and processing waste of all types. The addition of this plant to Credential Environmental’s network of collection, chipping and processing facilities, allows us to take waste tyres from the point of disposal, all the way through to them becoming a useful product again. This means we can ensure the integrity of the process and make it as green as possible.”
The 80 guests at the opening of the plant included VIPs from the US and Canada in addition to leading figures from the waste and tyre industries. They toured the facility, saw the end product and met local government officials involved in environmental initiatives in South Wales.
Credential tyres fuel successful Tarmac trials
The trial use of tyre chips as an alternative fuel in the high temperature cement kiln at Tunstead Quarry, near Peak Dale, Buxton, has been “a resounding success,” according to Credential Environmental. The kiln operator, Tarmac Buxton Lime and Cement, says the equivalent of 2 million old tyres have now been used and the trial has demonstrated that using tyre chips gives significant environmental benefits, including a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and a 15 per cent cut in emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
All of the ‘Critical Success Factors’, set by the Environment Agency for the trial, have reportedly been met. “It’s good news for the local environment and also for wider society as fossil fuel consumption has been reduced while a beneficial use has also been found for a waste which was previously disposed of in landfills”, says Hasan Bobat, Fuels Development Manager.
Steve Patterson, director of Credential Environmental, who provided the tyres, said: “This promises to be an exciting breakthrough for the recycling of used tyres and we’re delighted to be collaborating with Tarmac on the trials.”
The trial, closely supervised by the Environment Agency, was carried out in the latter part of 2006 and early 2007. Monitoring methods compared plant emissions when using conventional fuels, coal and petroleum coke, with replacement of up to 50 per cent of heat requirements with tyre chips. As the trial was a success the company is allowed to continue using the substitute fuel while the Environment Agency considers the trial results in detail.
A 79-page trial report, backed up by thousands of pages of monitoring data, has been sent to the Environment Agency who will go through the report before deciding whether to give permanent permission for the use of tyre chips at Tunstead. The tyre chips are supplied by Newton Aycliffe-based Credential Environmental, a leading used tyre collection and processing company – sourced from cars and light vans only. The company recovers those that can be re-used or re-treaded at its sites in Durham, North Yorkshire and Wednesbury in the Midlands, before chipping the remainder and producing a variety of quality, tyre-derived products. These include cement kiln fuel and aggregate replacement materials that are now being used extensively in civil engineering applications.
The tyre chips are delivered by lorry to Tunstead and held in new storage facilities for safe handling before being fed at a controlled rate into the kiln calciner using a covered conveyor and replacing a proportion of the coal used previously. The very high temperatures, long combustion times and excess air in the cement kiln ensure complete combustion of the tyre chips in the process, so there is no black smoke or smell.