State Funds to Aid in Testing of Canadian Scrap Tyre Technology
Canadian firm Ellsin Environmental Ltd is receiving government support in its implementation of technology that will enable scrap tyres to be converted into usable by-products by means of a microwave process. The patented reverse polymerisation technology was developed over a period of more than 15 years by another Canadian company, Environmental Waste International (EWI), and Ellsin has contracted EWI to build a demonstration system based on the EWI process. To assist, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) is investing CA$2 million assist in the construction of a test plant.
Once environmental approvals are gained, funding for this project will be provided under the NOHFC Enterprises North Job Creation Program, a scheme that invests in private sector projects that hold the potential to benefit Ontario. “Supporting new technologies and creating green jobs is the right thing to do for our economy and our environment,” commented Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty. “Projects like this one put Ontario at the cutting edge of green tech, while ensuring that used tyres are managed in an environmentally responsible way.”
The EWI process uses microwaves in a nitrogen chamber to break tyres down into the same components as achieved by pyrolysis – oil, steel and carbon black – yet it is said to accomplish this at a far lower temperature (between 250 and 300 decrees Celsius). The pilot plant will have the capacity to handle approximately 900 scrap tyres per day. Once the process is proven, Ellsin plans to build plants with the capacity to process 6,000 to 7,000 tyres a day in a number of countries.
The prototype system Ellsin contracted EWI to build is called the TR900 (its name representing its daily capacity) and plans are already in place for the development of a second TR900 processing line in 2010/11. The completed TR900 will, says Ellsin, showcase the efficiency and revenue generating capability of this advanced technology for the next stage of investment required – according to the company, a large-scale facility capable of processing up to 60,000 tyres per day is being contemplated in the ensuing four to five years. Ellsin points out that scrap passenger tyres in North America are produced at a pace of one tyre per capita per year, or approximately 330 million tyre annually, and company management estimates that a quarter of these scrap will be available for use as raw material input for the firms future growth. “Ellsin feels strongly that the North American market has the capacity for a significant number of larger facilities utilising this new technology,” states a company press release. “Additional factories would be developed to process the [estimated] two billion passenger tyres currently in landfills and the other various off-road tyres scrapped every year.”
Ellsin’s business plan involves the company’s establishment as a tyre processor under Canada’s Ministry of the Environment guidelines utilising the EWI technology, the construction of a new building, the establishment of a carbon manufacturing operation and the development of an alternative energy facility. This system, says Ellsin, will generate its own electrical power through the use of ultra-clean micro-turbines which, after providing the necessary electrical power directly to the prototype pilot recycling machine, could then feed the remaining electrical energy production into the power grid.