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Biofuel at Its Best: Oil from Recycled Tyres Offers Same Engine Performance for Less Emissions

Dec 13, 2016 11:15 AM EST
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Experts say roughly 1.5 billion tons of tyres go to waste around the world each year. Australia, alone, is expected to make around 55 million of dead-end tyres a year by 2020, with the United States on the lead with more than 200 million. With nowhere to go, these millions of discarded tyres end up becoming a potential health/fire hazard or a hotbed for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

In the Land Down Under, bright minds have found not only environment-friendly but also a highly profitable solution for this dilemma.

Using its original breakthrough tyre recycling technology, Australian startup company Green Distillation Technologies (GDT) ingeniously recycles end-of-life tyres into an oil that when mixed into minute amount of diesel produces high-quality biofuel that cuts emissions without compromising engine performance. GDT also turns old tyres into carbon and steel, leaving nothing wasted. It even uses some of the recovered oil as the heat source.

(Photo : Credit: University of Queensland for Press Release Use)
QUT researcher Farhad Hossain, Professor Richard Brown and GDT’s Trevor Bayley, pictures here through an oversize tyre that can yield up to 3,000 litres of oil from a giant 7 tonne tyre.

In collaboration with Queensland University of Technology mechanical engineer Professor Richard Brown and PhD student Bangladeshi-born Farhad Hossain, the green technology startup had their tyre oil tested for emissions and performance at the QUT Biofuel Engine Research Facility.

"We tested the tyre oil blends in a turbocharged, common rail, direct injection, six-cylinder engine at the Biofuel Engine Research Facility at QUT. The engine is typical of engine types used in the transport industry. Our experiments were performed with a constant speed and four different engine loads of 25, 50, 75 and 100 per cent of full load. We found a 30 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide, which contributes to photochemical smog, and lower particle mass which means fewer problems for emission treatment systems," Farhad Hossain stated in an official press release.

Chief Operating Officer Trevor Bayley said GDT is very pleased with the results of the QUT research, which they believe will help further support their advocacy to promote the sustainable use for end-of-life tyres.

"... As it has already been found by refinery Southern Oil that our oil from recycled tyres has been overlooked as a potential biofuel source, yet they say it is the most reliable and easiest to refine of all. They have said that the future potential of this source of feedstock is immense, in fact preferable to other bio-oils from plants or algae, plus it will reduce Australia's dependence on imported fuel and it is an excellent example of converting an environmental waste problem into a valuable raw material," he added.

By 2017, GDT targets to have its first fully operational commercial plant up and running and delivering at least 8 million liters of oil yearly. Not ready to rest their laurels, the US International Edison Awards 2015 nominee also plans to build a first of its kind world mining tyre processing plant, which, according to Mr. Bayley, will either be in Queensland or Western Australia, ABC reports.

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