TSA investigating exciting technologies for new recycling process
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The commercialisation of innovative technologies could, in the near future, see trucks running on tyres that will subsequently find a second life not only in the road surface but also in the fuel powering the rig.
Helping to create that circular economy is one of TSA’s key objectives and one of the technologies being researched is called pyrolysis.
Pyrolysis is a high temperature, no oxygen ‘deconstruction’ that breaks down old tyres to component elements such as carbon black, synthetic gas, steel and low-grade oil (often referred to as bunker fuel) that could subsequently be refined into diesel.
Although the technology has been around for many years and there are number of test or pilot pyrolysis plants around the world, the commercial viability of local, large-scale use of pyrolysis is the subject of a TSA supported investigation.
That work is in addition to the joint efforts of TSA and state roads bodies on increasing the use of highly durable, rubber-crumb mix road and pavement products already in wide-spread use around Australia.
The commercialisation of pyrolysis holds major potential to increase sustainable outcomes and history shows that prohibitively expensive new technologies often become commercially viable with time, scale and changing market demands. That is why much work will continue in the search for long-term outcomes that will increase the volume of domestic waste tyre recycling.
The idea of delivering a circular economy in tyre use is not fanciful. It is an objective that TSA and its partners are committed to; an objective that, if achieved, will benefit us all.