Puma Bitumen and Tyre Stewardship Australia partner in crumb rubber ‘game changer’ for asphalt sector.
Second Australian Rubber Bitumen Deal Agreed
Hot on the heels of the announcement of the Fulton Hogan bitumen plant taking on rubber modified bitumen production, Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) has brought news of a second rubberised bitumen deal.
This possibly serves of evidence that legislation is the driver for recycling rather than it simply being good for the environment. Since the Australian government announced the ban on waste exports, efforts to develop recycling technologies and markets in Australia have boomed. Perhaps the rest of the world needs to take a lead from Australia and start driving recycling of waste instead of talking about it.
The equivalent of more than a million used car tyres can now be recycled to make high quality crumb rubber bitumen for Australian roads in a ‘game changing’ partnership between Puma Bitumen and TSA.
Through two significant equipment investments – partly funded by TSA – Puma Bitumen has dramatically expanded its manufacturing capacity and widened the range of crumb rubber technology for both sprayed seals and asphalt currently available in Australia.
Two mobile crumb rubber blending units were commissioned in Western Australia to become a permanent part of Puma’s supply chain, capable of producing highly stable crumb rubber binder with rubber contents up to 24%. TSA contributed $200,000 to the upgrade.
On the east coast of Australia, Puma’s Townsville site have also been upgraded to allow production of crumb rubber binder, with $50,000 in TSA funding. The Townsville plant successfully produced the first batch of crumb rubber modified sprayed seal binder in April 2021.
It represents a significant investment by Puma Bitumen, supported by TSA, in equipment that will enable the local production of world class crumb rubber modified binders (CRMB).
CRMB is one of the most promising applications of tyre waste in Australia. The modification of bitumen by incorporating crumb rubber enhances its elastic properties, making roads more durable and less prone to bleeding, cracking and stone loss.
Phil Chirnside, National Manager Puma Bitumen, said: “We are committed to solving industry and governmental challenges and finding eco-friendly solutions to reduce the impact on environment, society and workforce and support the Australian road industry.
“For every tonne of binder production, the equivalent of 25 passenger tyres will be recycled. This can only be achieved because Puma has the support of industry-leading manufacturing equipment.”
“These infrastructure upgrades by Puma are the perfect example of how important innovation is in the circular economy,” CEO of TSA, Lina Goodman, said.
In the 2018/19 financial year TSA approved 13 new crumb rubber roads projects. The successful delivery of those projects will create a potential market demand for the Australian resource recovery industry of 11,700 tonnes per annum – the equivalent of more than 1.5 million EPU.
TSA has invested more than $6.3 million nationally to fund real-world outcomes for tyre-derived products like crumb rubber. Ms Goodman said the significant level of investment was testament to TSA’s deep commitment to driving a comprehensive, national program to significantly increase the development and penetration of crumb rubber products in Australia.
“Through its export ban of whole baled tyres, expected to come into effect at the end of this year, the Federal Government has set the scene for greater consumption of tyre-derived products such as crumb rubber, permeable pavements and other innovative products across infrastructure nationally,” Ms Goodman said.
“The environment is perfect for investment in infrastructure for the recycling of used tyres, and these projects show Puma Bitumen is ahead of the pack.”