Oil from recycled tyres has been overlooked as a potential biofuel source, yet it is the most reliable and easiest to refine of all, according to oil expert Tim Rose of Southern Oil.
According to Tim Rose the future potential of this source of feedstock is immense, in fact preferable to other bio-oils from plants such as corn or algae plus it reduces dependence on imported fuel and it is an excellent example of converting an environmental waste problem into a valuable raw material.
Southern Oil has operated a refinery at Wagga Wagga since 2001 that processes 38 per cent of Australia’s collected waste lube oil and is in the process of building an advanced $16 million biofuels plant at Gladstone, Queensland.
Tim Rose said: “The first ‘trickle’ of oil is now being provided to us by the Green Distillation Technologies tyre recycling plant at Warren in Western New South Wales under a supply contract we signed this year as they now have their first processing vessel operating pending approval by the environmental authorities after which they can expand their production.
“We have found that the oil they are providing is quite easy to convert to diesel fuel as the main refining step we have to make is the removal of the sulphur, but in time it could become a suitable feedstock for automotive petrol and even jet fuel.
“However, initially we plan to use it as the raw material for diesel fuel for stationary engines, but as the volume increases in time we will build a specialist refinery at Gladstone to just handle the oil from this source.
“This is in line with Green Distillation Technologies plans for ten tyre recycling plants around Australia and they are already advanced in ramping up the volume at their existing plant, plus another in Tasmania and a specialist plant in Perth to process oversize tyres, mainly from the mining industry,” Tim Rose said.
GDT has developed world-first Australian technology that will recycle end-of-life car and truck tyres into oil, carbon and steel using a destructive distillation process.
Green Distillation Technologies Chief Executive Craig Dunn said that an oversize tyre from a mining dump truck that weighs 3.5 tonnes will yield 1500 litres of oil, 1.5 tonnes of carbon, as well as the steel reinforcing which will go back to the tyre manufacturer for reuse.
“The Hyder Report in 2013-14 estimated that there are 155,000 tonnes of OTR end-of-life tyres of various sizes generated in Australia each year of which 79.4 per cent are left on site as there are no means of recycling them.
“We are currently building a test plant to process these tyres as although our recycling technology is proven, we have to work out the logistics of how to handle these extra-large ‘off the road’ tyres (OTRs) used by heavy duty mining dump trucks, large agricultural tractors and road making equipment.
“Our plant is already recycling end of life 10 kg car tyres that each yield 4kg of carbon, 1.5kg of steel and 4 litres of oil while the 70kg truck tyre provides 28 kg of carbon, 11 kg of steel and 28 litres of oil.