Zeppelin Group starts construction on the world’s largest tire recycling plant.

28.08.2017, Garching near Munich

Zeppelin is taking on the planning and execution of the overall plant, which has a value of around $30 million.

Zeppelin is building a tire recycling plant in Terre Haute, USA, for its long-term collaborative partner Pyrolyx AG. The group is taking on the planning and execution of the overall plant, which has a value of around $30 million. The order value is around $17.6 million. Carbon Black will be recovered from old tires in this cutting-edge plant. This closes the reusable material cycle for Carbon Black, reducing the strain on the environment in the long term. The groundbreaking took place in Terre Haute on August 22, and the start of construction for the recovered Carbon Black (rCB) plant will be on September 5. 

“We are delighted to be supporting Pyrolyx in 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. “This means that Zeppelin Group is also making an important contribution to the responsible handling of natural resources.”

The tire recycling plant at Terre Haute is expected to produce approximately 12,900 tons of rCB, as well as pyrolysis oil and steel. This will use around 4 million old tires every year, which would have previously been put into landfill or burned. Compared to traditional Carbon Black production, there will be a saving of approximately 2.5 tons of CO2 per ton of rCB.

“Our objective in the plant engineering business area is not only to build plants for tire production, but also to usefully supply these tires for further processing at the end of their useful life,” commented Axel Kiefer, Head of the Plant Engineering strategic business unit. In addition, Peter Gerstmann, Chairman of the Management Board of Zeppelin GmbH, emphasized: “Sustainable economic activity is securely anchored in the Zeppelin Group strategy. Solutions 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 tons of old tires are accrued each year. These are put into landfill or burned in cement industry firing furnaces. As a result, valuable raw materials are being wasted. Zeppelin, together with Pyrolyx AG, has developed a process through which the main component – Carbon Black – can be recovered from old tires. The process uses pyrolysis to decompose shredded tires down to raw materials, and high-value Carbon Black is created. This closes the utilization cycle for old tires, and means the recovered Carbon Black can be used to produce new tires.

As well as Carbon Black, the Pyrolyx technology also releases oil and gas. The gas released by the process can be utilized in gas engines, supplying most of the energy needed for the process itself. The oil can be purified and recycled using various other methods. Valuable steel is also recovered from the tires.

Pyrolyx and Zeppelin have been working together for almost nine years. The Pyrolyx corporate group is the global market leader in retrieving recovered Carbon Black from old tires.