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Plastic waste and tyres?


Book Reviewer
I would suggest it's not as easy as they are suggesting.
Tyres are the one problem everyone has when running recycling or scrap yards.
You can chip them and use them for playgrounds and horse stables but if it was that easy to make diesel everyone would be at it.
Plus the VAT man would be all over you for his cut they're not going to let you knock out fuel for free.

If you buy it let me know I've a mate sitting on 100,000 baled tyres.
Let you have them cheap.
Aye but what about the costs of shipping from the States? availibility of spares and servicing? Not to mention the government slapping some tax on the stuff?
I heard about some gippoes who rented a big mill in the north east.

They were advertising to dispose of scrap tires at a knockdown price.

When the mill was full to the ceilings with scrap tires..... the gippoes vanished.
I think you might find the licensing requirements to run such a plant in the UK are a tad different from the US. Backyard recycling isn't quite so easy here...
I investigated a similar technology when trying to think of ways to improve FOB sustainability.

First off I am a bit sceptical about the first website you provided, and will second Fox-and-horses that it looks like a Nigerian scam.

The chemical structure of vulcanised rubber is complex and contains, amongst other things, sulphur (as part of the vulcanisation process). That sulphur must go somewhere and even if we suspend disbelief for a moment and say the process does convert old tyres into diesel, the diesel will be sulphur rich and will start corroding your engine, catalytic converter & exhaust.

Secondly rubber is a complex biopolymer; diesel consists mostly of carbon chains 8 - 21 carbon atoms long. Frankly I would be surprised if thermal decomposition of tyres would result in a 90-95% diesel yield. It is a bit like saying if you put some PE4 in a house and blow it up, 90-95% of the debris would consist of bricks connected in blocks of (say) 4 - 10 units. The most likely result is that you'd get a mixture of organic molecules by pyrolysis of rubber, and you'd have to fractionally distill that to get diesel.

Thirdly, following on from #2, this is the reason why thermal gasification plants for converting plastics into hydrogen or carbon monoxide work. Going back to the PE4/house example, while you can not end up with blocks of bricks 4-10 units long, put enough PE4 into it and you can end up with lots of tiny bits. Same principle - put enough energy into the pyrolysis process and you end up with tiny molecules of hydrogen and carbon monoxide which can be used to fuel other things.

So, to summarise:
1) Thermal gasifiers that accept a variety of polymers and break them down into gases that can be used as fuels exist. They are the size of ISO containers.
2) A plant which converts tyres to 90-95% diesel? I don't buy it.
3) Drive at 55mph to save fuel. The power you expend against drag increases to the cube of your speed. I note a ~10% improvement in MPG when I drive on motorways at 55mph instead of 70mph.
Old tyres make a good fuel for cement factories. They first get cooled down to -179 degrees centigrade with liquid nitrogen. This makes the rubber very brittle. In the condition they get shredded into granulate, which is then blown into the furnaces of the cement factories. The steel content of the tyres, which gives problems in other applications, forms iron oxyde, which acts as a flux to lower the melting temperature of the cement components. And because the temperatures inside the furnace are much higher than if you burn a tyre in the open, the toxic byproducts get broken up into harmless compounds. The sulphur reacts with the calcium oxide and oxygen to form plaster of paris (calcium sulphate), which forms a part of the cement.
how dumb are you?

If you read the link you will see what by products there are, carbon and metal wire
Not as dumb as you if you really believe that's all that is produced when a tyre undergoes thermal depolymerisation! :? Seriously I doubt that this is really commercially viable or practical in the UK.

Walther is right about cement kilns but they have mahoosive scrubbing systems fitted to stop all the nasties getting into the atmosphere and of course they have to be licensed and operate under strict EA Guidelines.

I'm not 100% up to date any more on EA licensing (I used to be involved in the recycling business) but any kind of waste process (and that's what this is) comes into the licensing regime. I did read somewhere that this kind of operation is still caught as thought it were a large-scale industrial plant due to the nature of the chemical process taking place. If you were serious about setting one up I strongly recommend you talk to the Environment Agency (or at least look on their website) about planning and licensing first.
tyres are an option, look at the site and the title ie waste plastics obviously you only like to comment on what you can read - pity its not the full story - who's dumb now?

Plastics may be a more affordable and viable option, if so how come we don't - as a country, nation, industry do it considering the current price/state of oil and its producing countries?

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