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Fuel from waste tires goal of new research project

The possibility of producing pyrolysis oil from worn out tires is investigated in a research project run by RISE together with Scandinavian Enviro Systems and Ragn-Sells with support from Vinnova.

Recycling of waste tires represents both a big challenge and a great opportunity. Ragn-Sells has the task of collecting and recycling worn out tires in Sweden, and today the tires are used, for example, for its energy content and for making granules used as fillings in, for example, artificial turf. However, the tires have potential for more high value recycling than direct combustion, and globally a large number of tires are deposited every year, especially in developing countries.

At the Scandinavian Enviro Systems plant in Åsensbruk, waste tires are recovered in a pyrolysis process, where carbon black, pyrolysis oil, steel and gas are obtained as products. The carbon black, which is today the main product of the process, is of high quality and is sold to the rubber industry. The pyrolysis oil has large similarities with fossil oil, and therefore has potential to be used instead of fossil oil for the production of, for example, transportation fuels. Natural rubber in the tire also makes the pyrolysis oil partially biobased. The pyrolysis oil from Scandinavian Enviro Systems consists of 48% of biooil.

The aim of the ongoing project is to evaluate three different approaches for upgrading pyrolysis oil from tires to more high-quality products, with the main focus on co-upgrading to fuels together with fossil raw materials in refinery processes. Upgrading of pyrolysis oil from Scandinavian Enviro Systems process is carried out in the various scales of RISE test and pilot facilities in Piteå and Södertälje.

“Our initial results are promising, and we hope and believe that the project will contribute to a sustainable tire recovery, which utilizes the valuable components of the tires, while reducing fossil fuel consumption,” says project manager Linda Sandström at RISE ETC.

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Linda Sandström, RISE ETC, +46 10-516 61 80

RISE ETC is a fully-owned subsidiary to RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. The company is part of the RISE Bioeconomy division and is situated in Piteå.