BASF invests 16 million euros into Pyrum waste tyre oil recovery
BASF SE has announced that it is investing 16 million euros into Pyrum Innovations AG, a technology company specialized in the pyrolysis of waste tyres, headquartered in Dillingen/Saar, Germany. With the investment, BASF will support the expansion of Pyrum’s pyrolysis plant in Dillingen and the further roll out of the technology. BASF’s Pyrum investment follows the company’s partnership with New Energy, a similar tyre-derived oil project based in Budapest, Hungary at the start of September 2020.
Pyrum is currently running a pyrolysis plant for end-of-life tyres that can process up to 10,000 tons of tyres per year. Two additional production lines will be added to the existing plant by the end of 2022. BASF will take most of the pyrolysis oil and process it into new chemical products by using a mass balance approach as part of its ChemCycling project. The resulting products will mainly be aimed at customers from the plastics industry “looking for high-quality and functional plastics based on recycled materials”.
Furthermore, Pyrum intends to build additional tyre pyrolysis plants together with interested partners. The collaborative set-up will accelerate the path towards the use of Pyrum’s unique technology in serial production. According to the company, future investors in the technology can have confidence that the pyrolysis oil produced will be taken up by BASF to produce its chemical products. The co-operation will thus serve to close the loop for post-consumer plastic waste. Waste tyres fall within the definition of post-consumer plastic waste according to DIN EN ISO 14021:2016-07.
BASF and Pyrum anticipate that production capacity of up to 100,000 tons of pyrolysis oil derived from waste tyres could be built up within the next years together with additional partners.
“BASF is committed to leading the transition of the plastics industry to a circular economy. Replacing fossil feedstock through recycled feedstock at the beginning of the chemical value chain is a major lever in this regard,” says Hartwig Michels, President of BASF’s Petrochemicals division. “With the investment, we have taken another significant step towards establishing a broad supply base for pyrolysis oil and towards offering our customers products based on chemically recycled plastic waste on a commercial scale.”
“After 12 years of hard work Pyrum is proud to finally be accepted by the market. We are confident that we will become one of the market leaders in tyre recycling with BASF’s investment,” said Pascal Klein, Founder and CEO of Pyrum. “We can finally increase our tyre recycling and oil production capacity and concentrate our efforts on making our technology even more performant.”
According to the company, products made from pyrolysis oil by using a mass balance approach have the exact same properties as products manufactured with primary fossil resources. In addition, they have a lower carbon footprint than conventional products. This is the conclusion of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis, carried out by the consulting company Sphera on behalf of BASF. Among others, the LCA analysis could show this for the production of polyamide 6 (PA6), a plastics polymer which is, for example, used in the production of high-performance components for the automotive industry. One ton of PA6 produced with tire pyrolysis oil from Pyrum under a mass balance approach emits 1.3 tons less CO2 compared with one tonne PA6 produced with fossil feedstock. The lower emissions result from avoiding the incineration of the end-of-life tyres.