The high-tech tire recycling facility will recover up to 240,000 gallons of oil a year.
Photo: Dragon Art
AJAX, Ont.: Environmental Waste International Inc. is building a plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. that will extract oil and other by-products from old tires using an advanced technology.
The Ajax, Ont. company, specializing in eco-friendly systems for the break down of organic materials, said the facility will use its patented Reverse Polymerization microwave delivery system to break down the tires at the molecular level to their simplest forms – oil, carbon black, steel and hydrocarbon gases.
Running at a planned recycling rate of about 300,000 tires a year, the plant would produce some 240,000 US gallons of oil, 2 million pounds of carbon black, and 600,000 pounds of steel annually. Off-gases produced by the system will be used to co-generate electricity that allows the system to be energy self-sufficient.
Stephen Simms, president and CEO of EWS, said the facility will be the first large-scale pilot plant for the tire application. “There’s a tremendous amount of interest in our process with many potential purchasers eager to see the system up and running.”
Securing raw materials for the plant is already under way in Ontario where approximately 12 million used tires require disposal each year.
Ellsin Environmental Ltd., owner of the Sault facility, contracted EWS to design and build the prototype equipment for the more than $6-million project. EWS will build all future Ellsin systems and receive a royalty for each tire processed.
Ellsin, partially owned by EWS, has the sales and marketing rights to the technology for passenger tires in Canada and the US. EWS retains the rights to the used truck tire market in both countries, and to the entire used tire market in the rest of the world.
Some 300 million used tires are generated each year in North America, and another 600 million annually in other parts of the world. Simms said the company intends to capture about 30% of the global market over the next decade.
The prototype EWS system being installed in the Sault is the TR-900 but models to be sold in the future will be larger. EWS’s the largest unit (the TR-6000) is designed to process 2 million used tires a year and costs about $30 million.
Each TR-6000 will be capable of reclaiming over 1.6 million gallons of oil, about 6,500 tonnes of carbon black, and 1,800 tonnes of steel a year. Carbon black is used as a pigment and reinforcement in rubber and plastic products.
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. has loaned Ellsin $2 million to help fund the Sault project. Operations are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2011.
In North America, used tires are currently ground up and used in such applications as carpet under-padding or road re-surfacing; burned in cement kilns and other energy generating facilities; or are sent to landfill.