2gBioPower say there are favourable conditions for tyre recovery with Enviro’s technology in the UK.
Huge Potential for Enviro Plant in the UK
There are favourable opportunities to establish a commercially successful recycling plant based on Enviro’s technology in the UK. This was the conclusion of a feasibility study that commenced in November 2020 and has now been completed. According to the study, the favourable conditions derive primarily from the large domestic demand for recovered oil for the production of renewable vehicle fuel.
The feasibility study was conducted by Enviro’s representative in the UK market, 2G BioPower, but also involved an international oil company with operations in the UK, and the engineering company OSL.
The purpose of the feasibility study was to investigate the commercial and technical conditions for establishing a profitable, large-scale recycling plant based on Enviro’s technology.
One of the conclusions of the feasibility study is that, while local demand for recovered carbon black is more difficult to assess, the interest in recovered pyrolysis oil is already so large today that it will be possible to sell all the oil that can be produced.
The reasons for this include the incentives launched by the UK government in 2018 to produce so-called development fuel, a new category of renewable vehicle fuel. After 2G BioPOWER received the Ministry of Transport’s approval in 2019 to convert Enviro’s pyrolysis oil into development fuel, the company has received large interest in pyrolysis oil from a major UK oil refinery.
Tyre and Rubber Recycling questioned 2G Biopower’s Howard Jackson about the market reality in the UK, as Tyre Pyrolysis Oil (TPO) has not yet been officially approved for use in transport solutions. The recently formed Renewable Transport Fuels Association is campaigning for the approval, but others have suggested it may be a while.
Jackson told Tyre and Rubber Recycling UK pyrolysis project (based on Enviro technology) starting in 2014, 2G BioPOWER (2GB) gained approval from the Department for Transport to use End of Life tyres (ELTs) for the production of biofuel in 2015, based on the natural rubber they contain.
“Based on this, and following changes to the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (the ‘RTFO’), 2GB made a comprehensive application to the UK’s Department for Transport to refine TPO into ‘Development Fuel’, a new and separately incentivised type of renewable transport fuel from waste. 2GB was one of the first to gain such approval for any type of Development Fuel.
“Conversion of TPO into transport fuel potentially adds measurably to the value of the TPO and 2GB concluded that, whilst standalone refining could be viable, using existing refinery facilities was a better option.
“As UK fuel suppliers are under increasing pressure to supply Development Fuel in the UK, 2GB attracted interest from a major international oil company. Comprehensive tests on Enviro TPO implied technical viability through a conventional refinery and potential demand was high.
“Considering the emergent scale of the UK‘s Development Fuel market, 2GB teamed with OSL Consulting Engineers to undertake a Feasibility Study, part funded by Innovate UK, into the large-scale deployment of Enviro‘s pyrolysis technology (as previously kindly reported by you on Nov 12th last year).
“This included comprehensive engineering and techno-economic assessments leading to static and dynamic (stochastic) financial modelling across different scales and modes of operation.
“The Feasibility Study demonstrated viability at all scales when producing both rCB and TPO (for onward conversion into Development Fuel), and at large scale when producing TPO alone, and hence forms a sound platform for the development of UK project especially, as to date, the incentive is only currently available in this country.
“2GB has also joined a recently formed RTFA group aimed at establishing TPO as a product, rather than a waste, in order to facilitate its sale and use in the UK, including refining into Development Fuel, however we have had it confirmed that the incentive will still be applicable even if End of Waste status is achieved.”
The profitability calculations conducted in the feasibility study build on a plant comprising 20 of Enviro’s reactors and that half of the supply of end-of-life tyres will be secured through imports, although UK exports of end-of-life tyres are considerable. The reason for the latter is insufficient local infrastructure currently available for the recycling of end-of-life tyres. The feasibility study also found sales of recovered carbon black would also significantly improve the profitability of a local plant.
“There are few tyre manufacturers in the UK, so the local demand for carbon black is small. However, it is easy to export recovered carbon black and since the global demand is strong, we see no problem whatsoever in also selling the carbon black. In conclusion, this means that we also foresee favourable fundamental conditions for establishing plants based on our recycling technology in the UK,” says Thomas Sörensson, CEO of Enviro.
A life cycle analysis conducted by the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute shows that tyre production using carbon black that has been recycled using Enviro’s method could lead to 79-84 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions, compared with production using virgin carbon black. Enviro has entered a strategic partnership with the French tyre manufacturer Michelin, which is Enviro’s largest owner since April of last year.