Waste tyre recycling: current status, economic analysis and process development
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The disposal of waste tyres has become an increasing problem in many countries worldwide. It is a costly issue for the whole tyre manufacturing and automobile industry, while the environmental costs over the years have reached significant levels. Current government’s regulations which ban landfilling in some developed countries such as United Kingdom have sparked an increased interest in finding new ways to dispose of waste tyres in environmentally safe manner.First part of this thesis explores the current status of the industry and identifies the most promising technologies which could provide a suitable solution for safe disposal of tyres. Once identified, the technology with the biggest potential is screened through a series of experiments which will form a basis for further process development. Finally, an in-depth economic analysis will evaluate the commercial feasibility of newly developed process and identify key recommendations for further work.After careful consideration, the pyrolysis of waste tyres was chosen for further process development and experimental research. The main goal of this work was to develop a suitable process for safe disposal of tyres and develop a unique tool which will provide a guideline on the process conditions required in order to optimize the production of a specific product. This tool, known as POT (Product Optimization Table) will play major part in identifying key operating conditions required for optimizing the overall process economics.Key findings in this report concentrate on identifying best possible process conditions required to make the process as economically favorable as possible at current market conditions. This is achieved by completing a case study together with a number of different economic models and looking at what makes the particular model economically viable. The result of this economic analysis points out a few major limitations of waste tyre pyrolysis process and dwells deeper into finding the key causes for this.Key recommendations presented at the end of this report are aimed at tyre manufacturing industry as well as relevant government bodies. Federal governments of developed nations are to play a major role in promoting the commercialization of the waste tyre pyrolysis technology. It is clear that new technology such as pyrolysis which is characterized by high risk and minimal returns is going to struggle in today’s market. Implementing the recommendations given in this report is crucial in order to encourage significant investments into technology such as pyrolysis and aid the further development and commercialization in the near future.
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