Recycling scrap tires has been a huge priority for EWI since 1994, when the first proof-of-concept prototype was developed. In 2010 EWI and Ellsin built a pilot plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. This plant operated for 5 years, demonstrating its capabilities. The objective of the research conducted was to show that a continuous feed system could be successfully built and operated. It was also necessary to establish the economic value and quantity of by-products of the process.
These by-products were collected and analysed by independent labs. After their quality had been established, EWI was able to prove our economic tire recycling projections. The TR2000 was established as the base model for the TR series.
Recycled Carbon Black
The quality of the carbon black produced by this process is determined by the grades used to manufacture the original tires. Tire manufacturers use over 60% of carbon black produced. This amounts to over 6,000,000 tons (5,454,000 metric tonnes) annually. At EWI, we recover over 7000 tons (6350 metric tonnes) of carbon black each year at a single TR6000 facility. The Reverse Polymerization process we use is far superior to methods such as pyrolysis. Since Reverse Polymerization occurs at controlled, lower temperatures, the carbon black retains its original material properties. More value can be obtained because of the reusability of this by-product.
When the Reverse Polymerization process ends, scrap steel is one of the products. It represents over 10% by weight of a single tire in a passenger vehicle. Steel remains unchanged because the low temperatures used have no effect on material properties. It can be resold to steel processing and recycling plants to be reused in new steel products.
There are two states of hydrocarbons produced by the Reverse Polymerization process: gaseous and liquid synthetic. The gaseous component consists of short-chain hydrocarbons (methane, ethane, propane and butane) with low molecular weight that provide a very hot and very clean burn. The synthetic oil is similar to a light crude oil. The hydrocarbons can be used to generate electricity or sold as other valuable feed stocks.