Trelleborg cutting Sri Lanka tyre plant CO2 by 90%

A full reengineering of steam generation equipment at the Trelleborg Wheel Systems plant in Sri Lanka will improve the facility’s environmental footprint as well as its production efficiency. Trelleborg is installing a new biomass boiler at the production site in Makola, near Colombo; it reports that work on this “major investment” has already begun, and the new process will be fully operational from June 2019.

Steam is essential to the tyre curing process, and this is currently generated in Makola by a furnace oil boiler. Such equipment is responsible for significant CO2 emissions, however. The biomass-fired boiler now being installed is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 90 per cent compared with the prior method of steam generation.

“The investment is in line with the company target to address the environmental performance across the entire tyre life cycle, from the design to the end of life, to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of production processes and products,” says Paolo Pompei, president at Trelleborg Wheel Systems. “The introduction of a new biomass-fired boiler will also improve transformation cost efficiency, reducing the impact of raw material fluctuation for customers, while maintaining product competitiveness in the market. The initiative is in line with Trelleborg’s ‘Blue Dimension’ approach to sustainability, which focuses on combining environmental benefits with benefits for the customers in terms of higher efficiency and productivity.”

The Makola plant employs more than 850 people and produces solid tyres for the material handling and port industries as well as pneumatic tyres for light agricultural applications. The facility’s traditional tyre manufacturing process is currently responsible for over 11,000 tons of CO2 equivalents and 3.5 million litres of furnace oil consumption per year. With the introduction of the biomass system, the carbon footprint will be reduced to less than 1,000 tons of CO2 equivalents annually. The biomass needed for the production output will be entirely supplied by local producers, shortening the supply chain’s geographical distance and thus further reducing the carbon footprint.

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