Plant Engineering on the road to zero-waste tire production

20.02.2018
from Dr. Etwina Gandert | KGK

The Zeppelin Group is building a tire recycling plant in Terre Haute, USA, for its long-time collaborative partner Pyrolyx. The Group will take on the planning and execution of the overall plant, which has a value of around US$30 million. The order is worth around US$17.6 million.Carbon black will be recovered from old tires in this cutting-edge plant, thereby closing the reusable material cycle by recovering carbon black, reducing the strain on the environment in the long term. Zeppelin Systems will exhibit at the Tire Technology Expo 2018 on Stand 8034.

“We are delighted to be supporting Pyrolyx tire production with our expertise as a market leader in the plant engineering sector, as well as planning the entire plant and acting as general contractor,” commented Guido Veit, Business Unit Manager, Plastics & Rubber Plants at the Zeppelin Group. The new tire recycling plant in Terre Haute is expected to produce rCB, as well as pyrolysis oil and steel. Around 4 million old tires, which would have previously been put into landfill or incinerated, will be used each year.

Compared to traditional carbon black production, this represents an annual saving of approximately 2.5 metric tons of CO2 for each metric ton of rCB. “Our objective in the Plant Engineering business area is not only to build plants for tire production, but also to supply these tires for further valuable recovery processes at the end of their useful life,” commented Axel Kiefer, Head of the Plant Engineering strategic business unit. Chairman of the Zeppelin Management Board, Peter Gerstmann, underlines the point: “Sustainable economic activity is securely anchored in the Zeppelin Group strategy. Our solutions here should make a decisive contribution to resolving one of the world’s most significant environmental problems.”

An innovative recycling process

In Germany alone, around 650,000 metric tons of old tires are accrued each year. These are put into landfill or burned in cement industry firing furnaces, leading to the loss of valuable raw materials as waste. The Zeppelin Group, together with Pyrolyx, has developed a process through which the main component of tires – carbon black – can be recovered from old tires. This process uses pyrolysis to decompose shredded tires down to raw materials, obtaining high-value recovered carbon black (rCB) in the process.

This closes the utilization cycle for old tires, and means the recovered carbon black can be used to produce new tires. Pyrolyx technology also releases gas and oil along with the carbon black (rCB): This recovered gas can be used as an energy source during production, and can supply most of the energy required by the process, while the oil can be cleaned and recycled in various other ways.Useful steel can also be recovered from the tires.

Tire Technology Expo 2018, Stand 8034

To the online article and interview

“Sustainable economic activity is securely anchored in the Zeppelin Group strategy. Our solutions here should make a decisive contribution to resolving one of the world’s most significant environmental problems.”

Peter Gerstmann, Chairman of the Management Board, Zeppelin