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Innovation in Tyre Recycling Process

Innovation in Tyre Recycling Process

02 October, 2018

Dr Frank Riedewald, founder and CEO of Composite Recycling Ltd., visited Cork Institute of Technology on September 26, as part of the visiting lectures series organised by our partners in Engineers Ireland and the Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Dr Riedewald has developed a patent pending technology to recover the material in used tyres called ‘New recovery Process for Waste Tyres and Waste Electronics’. Tyres are made of rubber, carbon black, steel and some additives. These are difficult to break down and separate, which makes reprocessing hugely challenging.

Dr Riedewald explained that the new technology is the first commercially viable process for recycling whole tyres, which can be processed without shredding, granulation or steel removal.

In 2017, local authorities in Ireland estimated that 750,000 tyres were randomly dumped in sites around the country. With approximately 1.5 billion tyres scrapped each year worldwide, Dr Riedewald’s technology has huge economic potential, as well as significantly reducing pollution.

The chemical process underpinning this method is pyrolysis, executed under the exclusion of oxygen (no flame). The main advantage of this process is that it is self-sustaining, using the non-condensables (methane, propane) to maintain the operating temperature. The process uses molten zinc to recover pyrolysis oil and carbon black and steel in a sink-float separation. During the lecture photographs of a garage-scale rig used for proof-of-concept were shown, and blow torches were used to heat a 2m high 1m diameter stainless steel tank. 

CIT engineering student Conor Considine made a presentation to Dr Riedewald on behalf of CIT, in recognition of his innovations in science and technology.

Dr Riedewald is currently working with Dr Maria Sousa Gallagher, School of Engineering and the Environmental Research Institute of UCC, to develop the technology further.

The RecEOL project, aims to reclaim over 95% of recycled copper, aluminium, steel and solder from waste printed circuit boards (PCBs), LCDs, batteries and automobile shredder residue (ASR). The process will also be the first recycling technology of its kind to capture critical and special metals, such as indium and tantalum from PCBs and LCDs.

Dr Riedewald has over 25 years’ experience designing chemical plants, including incinerators, wastewater treatment and anaerobic digesters. He has served as Consultant, Lead Engineer or Project Manager for a variety of large multinationals including Pfizer, P&G, Bluestar and Arch Chemicals.

Composite Recycling Ltd. is located at the Rubicon Centre on the CIT Campus.

If you would like to know more about how your company can benefit from collaborating with CIT email extendedcampus@cit.ie or call 021 4335302.