Recycling your truck’s tyres is good for the environment and now a process has emerged which could result in even greater benefits, making emissions reducing bio-oil out of recycled tyres.
New research from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has shown that recycled tyres can be used to form an emissions-reducing bio-oil. The process used by tyre recycling company Green Distillation Technologies (GDT) blends recycled tyres with diesel in small amounts to reduce the particle mass emissions from the engine without negatively affecting performance.
GDT has been in operation since 2009, with a pilot plant in New South Wales that handles 19,000 tonnes of car and truck tyres annually.
Testing is ongoing but the company has won bronze in the US International Edison Awards last year for the innovative way it disposes of old consumer and truck tyres, breaks the tyres down into oil, carbon and steel.
The company’s recycling process recovers 4kg of carbon, 1.5kg of steel and 4 litres of oil from a recycled 10kg tyre, using the oil produced at the facility as a power source.
Saving tyres from ending up in a landfill benefits the community but also the environment.
PhD student Bangladeshi-born Farhad Hossain from QUT is working on the research with mechanical engineer Professor Richard Brown. Mr Hossain explained,
“There are 1.5 billion tonnes of tyres discarded globally each year,” he says. “Getting rid of old tyres in an environmentally-friendly way is a universal nightmare for authorities.”
“Stockpiles of used tyres around the world are a health hazard, as demonstrated by the recent Broadmeadows fire in Victoria which was difficult to put out and generated huge amounts of toxic smoke and in tropical areas old tyres are a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, dengue fever and malaria.”
Mr Hossain went on to explain that trialling 10 and 20 per cent diesel blends involved an engine typical of those used in the transport industry. He stated,
“We tested the tyre oil blends in a turbocharged, common rail, direct injection, six-cylinder engine at the Biofuel Engine Research Facility at QUT,” he says.
“Our experiments were performed with a constant speed and four different engine loads of 25, 50, 75 and 100 per cent of full load.”
“We found a 30 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide which contributes to photochemical smog, and lower particle mass which means fewer problems for emission treatment systems.
The QUT research has the potential to significantly impact the future of tyre recycling, GDT COO Trevor Bayley explained. The company was of the impression that the oil by-product was destined for heating or needed further refinement. He expressed his delight in the QUT findings,
“We are delighted at the findings of the QUT research as it will help us promote the sustainable use for end-of-life tyres, as it has already been found by refinery Southern Oil that our oil from recycled tyres has been overlooked as a potential biofuel source, yet they say it is the most reliable and easiest to refine of all,” Bayley says.