Recycling Tires May Produce Synthetic Fuels and More

In a new European project, researchers are investigating how tires can be recycled and turned into synthetic fuels and other useful materials.

In Europe, 65 to 70 percent of the three million tons of tire waste each year end up in landfills, which takes a large toll on the environment. To help deal with the overwhelming amount of tire waste, a EU funded project called TyGRE has been established. As part of the project, researchers will explore how synthetic fuels and other materials can be created from recycling tires.

The project will investigate the pyrolysis of the tire material to extract the volatile gasses that form syngas and how the use of formed char can produce silicon carbide and other materials. The research will involve heating tire scraps up to 1,000 degrees Celsius to produce a fuel similar to natural gas.

In order to help make the process more cost-effective, the researchers will also work on creating by-products from the tires. "Silicon carbide is one of the materials of the future; it is used in metallurgy, in ceramics, and in a variety other products,” said Valerie Shulman, secretary general of the European Tire Recycling Association (ETRA).