Environmental green light for tyre recycler’s Toowoomba plant

By intouch * posted 16-04-2019 16:12


Tyre recycler Green Distillation Technologies (GDT), which has developed world-first technology that transforms old tyres into oil, carbon and steel, has received approval for their proposed Toowoomba plant from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

Screen_Shot_2019-04-16_at_4_00_39_pm.pngGDT’s Chief Operating Officer Trevor Bayley said that they expected the actual development approval for construction of the plant to come before the Toowoomba Regional Council before the end of the month.

“After that, the final hurdle we face is the Queensland Government grant that we have applied for to help fund the $10 million construction bill and if that comes through we could start preparatory work on the site before the end of May," he said. 

“It will employ 14 to 18 people full-time, as well as local contractors during the construction phase and create further jobs in transport associated with collection of old tyres from retailers and other outlets.

“We have enjoyed great co-operation from the Toowoomba Regional Council, which see the role that we will play as an integral part of their plans to develop the region as a major road transport hub by recycling the old truck tyres as well as creating local employment,” he said.  

intouch first reported on GDT back in 2015. At the time, GDT had just received international recognition when it scored the bronze medal for innovation in the Resource Management and Renewable Resources category at the Edison Awards, held in New York. 

The Toowoomba tyre recycling plant will be built at the Wellcamp Business Park, near Toowoomba Airport and when completed will process approximately 700,000 old tyres per year into eight million litres of oil, 7700 tonnes of carbon black and 2000 tonnes of steel.

These are all valuable raw materials with the oil to go to the Southern Oil refinery at Gladstone and the carbon black is a chemical building block widely used in manufacturing, while the steel beading and reinforcing of the tyre will go back to the tyre manufacturers for reuse or for scrap.

The oil is regarded by Southern Oil as ‘light crude’ that is low in sulphur and easy to refine into petrol, diesel or jet fuel.

Bayley said GDT has a firm commitment from Southern Oil to take all the oil they produce anywhere in Australia.

“This also applies to our plant in Warren, Western New South Wales," he said. 

“We have used this facility as a test plant as we have been held up waiting for approval by the New South Wales Environmental Protection Authority but we believe that the Queensland environmental approval will accelerate this process.

“It has been a long time coming as we commenced work in 2009 on developing the destructive distillation technology, which we call the Randall process, named after the inventor, our Technical Director Denis Randall.

“We moved to our current site in Warren in 2011 and have been operating as a test facility but can easily gear-up to full production which would be a mirror of the Toowoomba plant in terms of processing capacity and output.

 “The process is within NSW Environmental Protection Authority guidelines since all the process vapours are captured and condensed while the exhaust stream is cooled and washed prior to evacuation leaving it well below recognised environmental limits."

GDT plans to eventually establish seven processing plants in Australia to handle the 25 million old car and truck tyres Australia discards each year.