Australian tyre recycler Green Distillation Technologies has signed an agreement worth up to $50 million to establish up to five tyre recycling plants in South Africa.
Volco Power Pty Ltd plans to build the plants in five of South Africa’s nine provinces. Although Volco is comparatively new, its predecessor Synchrona, which had the same directors as Volco, specialised in converting municipal solid waste and used tyres into electricity and other forms of energy in more than 15 countries across Africa.
However, due to the problems of obtaining power purchase agreements with government, Volco decided to concentrate on providing energy to private industrial clients.
Wilson Machekanyanga, Business Development Manager of Volco said that despite their change in focus, they had still retained their interest in the waste recycling sector, and this led to their deal with Green Distillation Technologies and their technology to convert of end-of-life tyres into oil, carbon and steel.
“South Africa is a good market for tyre recycling as it generates more old tyres than all the other Southern African countries put together with more than 300,000 tonnes a year of which less than 20 per cent are recycled, with 60 million kept at illegal storage sites, where they pose a fire hazard and a breeding ground for mosquitos,” he said.
Trevor Bayley, COO of Green Distillation Technologies, which has developed world-first technology that turns old tyres into oil, carbon and steel, said they were pleased to have reached this agreement to take their technology to another country.
“We have had enquiries from most of the major countries throughout the world, but this is the first Memorandum of Understanding we have signed and clearly our technology can make a significant environmental contribution to South Africa as our process is not only emission-free but processes a waste product into high value oil, carbon and steel.
“All the competing approaches to recycling old tyres either creates dangerous emissions or the products produced by the process are of low value. In the case of crumbing, or chipping tyres it doesn’t recycle but simply changes the tyre into small pieces that will still last 500 years and when it is burnt as furnace fuel creates dangerous emissions and a residue ash that has to go to landfill,” he said.
Mr Bayley said that the plants to be built in South Africa will comprise of six tyre processing modules and 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.