TireHog microwave-based solution can effectively recycle 1,200 tires per day
Microwave Renewable Technologies (MRT), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lubrication Specialties, Inc., has introduced a practical and self-sustaining solution for recycling tires. The MRT TireHog is a 100% mobile machine that uses microwaves to recycle up to 1,200 tires per day. With the TireHog, microwaves break down tires in a continuous process along a conveyor belt, ultimately allowing for rapid reclamation of high-quality, economically valuable end products, including carbon black, oil, and natural gas.
"Our initial testing indicates one TireHog machine can produce 2.8 million pounds of carbon, 1.5 million pounds of oil, and 1.3 million pounds of gas per year," says Chris Gabrelcik, president and CEO of Lubrication Specialties. "These estimates translate to a yearly value of $1.8 million in carbon black, $258,470 in crude oil, and $102,495 in natural gas."
Byproducts created by the TireHog can be used for diesel fuel, asphalt, and other applications, and can even be used to power the TireHog itself, making it fully sustainable.
"Each model has the potential to help companies generate an estimated $2.15 million in annual revenue, dollars that originally would have sat in a landfill or been torched," says Gabrelcik.
He adds that this new approach addresses the many processing difficulties encountered with traditional pyrolysis, including low efficiency, and fouled heat transfer.
"Our microwave-based technology has an 80%+ energy conversion, eliminating heat transfer issues. Where other solutions have produced low-quality carbon, the carbon captured by the TireHog is low in volatile organic compounds (VOC), making it more suitable for reuse applications."
Addressing the global tire crisis
Discarded, unrecycled tires leak chemicals and heavy metals into the ground as they break down, and a single tire takes 50 to 80 years to decompose. Globally, it is estimated that one billion tires reach the end of their useful life annually. Currently, the most popular options for recycling tires are cutting, shredding, punching, or stamping them into tire chips, shreds, crumb rubber, or various rubber products.
According to Gabrelcik, recycling or repurposing currently accounts for only a small percentage of what happens to end-of-life tires (ELTs); most are dumped or incinerated, both of which have devastating impacts on the environment.
Knowing that one TireHog machine can recycle at least 288,000 tires each year, Gabrelcik says the TireHog solution can make real headway in the global, ELT problem.
"With the right machines in use over the next few years all around the world, millions of tires have the potential to be eliminated from landfills, and millions of dollars could be funneled into the local economies of communities most plagued by tire waste."
He says worldwide, most countries control, manage or regulate the disposal of ELTs, and many create dumps where ELTs are aggregated. With global attention on reducing the effects of climate change, many government leaders are working to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable, low carbon future for all.
"It would be sensible for world leaders to consider alternatives to current tire disposal methods, such as the TireHog, as they work toward creating a more sustainable future for their citizens," continues Gabrelcik.
"In addition to national governments, the TireHog could be utilized by regional and municipal governments, waste management companies, tire shredder manufacturers, or simply an outside investor looking to improve our world's carbon footprint. Once tires are cleared from one site, its small, easy-to-transport design can be transported on a standard tractor trailer to the next area where tires have been collected, saving thousands on transportation and logistics.
"The TireHog can have a game-changing impact on this industry and - more importantly - our global carbon footprint."
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.