More than 13 million tonnes of tyres are scrapped every year around the world, 3.4 million tonnes of which are scrapped in the EU. DSV alone scraps 15,000 truck tyres a year, not to mention tyres handled at DSV’s workshops for other parties.
“We share responsibility for making sure that we dispose of tyres in an environmentally proper process,” explains Søren Lund, Director, Equipment, DSV, where the recent acquisition of a share of Tire2Oil in Odsherred, Denmark, gives DSV a leading role in the area of recycled tyres.
Using pyrolysis*, the tyres are transformed into recyclable raw materials that can be sold on the world market: oil, steel - and carbon black which is primarily used as a colouring agent and to reinforce rubber and plastic.
The facility being constructed near Egebjerg in Odsherred is equipped with fully-automated reactor filling and emptying, ensuring a continuous process and better working environment and greatly benefitting the environment in general. Initially, the facility is intended to process 15 tonnes of tyres every 24 hours.
No more pollution
“The process produces no polluting residual products and the factory does not emit smoke: there’s simply no smokestack,” explains Søren Lund, adding that the part of the gas which cannot be condensed into oil can be used as fuel to heat the pyrolysis reactor and surrounding premises. Thus, there are only limited energy costs of operating the facility.
Lars Boysen, CEO, Tire2Oil, already has a lot of "raw materials" outside the factory in Odsherred, Denmark. In it's initial phase, the facility is intended to process 15 tonees of tyres every 24 hours.
In many countries, discarded tyres accumulate in nature areas and are used for incineration. The incineration generates pollution and utilises only a small amount of the energy that was used to manufacture the tyre. In Denmark – as in many other EU Member States – all scrapped tyres are collected. Instead of using the tyres for incineration, there has been a tradition of granulating the tyres into a rubber material but the process used for this requires a lot of energy. The granules are usually used as filling on synthetic turf, typically football pitches.
“But it is not an eco-friendly process. The granules only last a few years before having to be replaced, and the worn-out granules are driven to an incineration facility,” says Søren Lund, who expects the Odsherred factory to eventually be able to transform the granules into raw materials.
Aiming to expand to the rest of Europe
So far, the aim is to get the factory up and running with a single production line before year end. The next goal is to triple the number of production lines, followed by setting up or selling production facilities in the rest of Europe.
We are now co-owners of a patented technology which could have a favourable impact on a significant environmental problem. At the same time, the establishment of additional European recycling plants will reduce transport costs,” says Søren Lund, who has already entered into agreements with car repair shops and “collectors” on the delivery of discarded tyres.
Tyre recycling may not be DSV’s core business but, according to Søren Lund, the goal was to combine a need and a wish for environmental accountability with commercial success.
“Over the years, we’ve made a huge effort to recycle trailers, but we’ve never been able to find a solution for how to recycle tyres. At the same time, we have increasing numbers of environmentally aware key-account customers, so it has been both a demand and a competitive parameter for us to find a satisfactory solution to the problem,” he says, adding that DSV, together with Tire2Oil, is not only taking appropriate action in terms of the environment, but is also entering a lucrative business.
“Most environmental initiatives cost money to implement, but there are also situations where environmental accountability can actually show a profit. This is exemplified when we fill trailers to maximum capacity. We save both space and fuel, which is also true here,” he says.
“We’re both pleased and proud to have DSV join our ownership of Tire2Oil. This gives us a partner who is directly interested in resolving the problem of processing discarded tyres, at the same time that DSV has the network and size to disseminate the concept to the rest of Europe. This will benefit everyone involved,” says Lars Boysen, CEO, Tire2Oil.
“The factory emits no smoke, simply because there’s no smokestack”
*Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of material by means of heat (fire), without adding oxygen.