Tyre pyrolysis is an innovative recycling method that involves heating discarded tyres in the absence of oxygen to break them down into valuable by products such as pyrolysis oil, carbon black, and steel. This eco-friendly approach helps to reduce tyre waste and promotes resource recovery for a sustainable future.
We will build large scale plants that take in, you know, perhaps 100,000 tons of stock a year. We build small scale plants, deployable plants. Right. And we send those plants to the problem rather than having the problem travel in an unsustainable method to us.
Hello and welcome to Rethink What Matters. The podcast dedicated to aligning the economy with the ecology and everyone. For improved business performance, stronger families, and a greener, cooler planet. And today I'm joined by Warren Steel of Carlton Forest Renewables. Are we going to be discussing tyre pyrolysis?
Thanks for having us on today.
Apparently one half billion tyres are discarded annually worldwide, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Think tyre disposal is a is a significant problem on a global basis. I think the numbers that you're probably looking at there are probably the the numbers of the tyres that are disposed of on an annual basis. It probably doesn't even take into account those that are stored, those that are perhaps even illegally dumped and and, you know, we've got we've got to consider the bigger picture.
In the UK alone, we're managing something along the lines of 60 million casings on an annualized basis. So it's a fairly significant problem that Carlton Forest are trying to address and so far successfully addressing.
Could you tell us a little bit more about Carlton Forest renewables
Warren Yeah, absolutely. So countering renewables was born out of the the Cotton Forest group as a as a business historically, we are also warehousing and logistics. And our CEO Mark Pepper took a bunch about seven or eight years ago and went into the renewable sector. You know, the there's, there's technologies out there that to that can be employed.
But I think close to close to his heart was the idea that he runs a logistics business. We run trailers, we run tyres, we discard tyres. So let's look at something that's aligned to the business in terms of how we manage what we're investing in. And around 2018, Mark went out to South Africa and bought a company called IRR Manufacturing, which is International Rubber Recycling. And that business is was was a pyrolysis technology business. So tyres to to to oil and effectively what what mark did was lifted the production equipment out of South Africa, brought it to the UK. But we still retain the the, the manufacturing elements of our business in South Africa.
So we distribute our plants on a global basis now from South Africa. But I'll talk you through in this podcast how we do that and what we do with tyre waste.
Okay. All right. So it's a global business then.
Yeah, we're a global business where we're working on operations, establishing operations in Australia. We have an Australian partner and they, we have a five plant deal in Australia at the moment. So the first plant will go into an area just outside of Brisbane and in the coming in the coming months. And we're also working on a second plant in northern Sweden at the moment.
So yeah, we're expanding to areas that are that are far flung, which lends itself to our technology. You know, our competitors will be we'll build large scale plants that take in, you know, perhaps 100,000 tonnes of stock a year. We build small scale plants to deployable plants, right? And we send those plants to the problem rather than having the problem travel in an unsustainable method to us.
To talk a little bit more about the problem of tyres and what happens to them when they get discarded up until now or, you know, what other what other ways are there of recycling tyres? That I think perhaps are not as efficient as tyre pyrolosis.
Yeah, I think so. On a on a on a global basis, typically tyres are starting to be banned from landfills, even even in third world countries. Now they're jumping on to landfill bans. But in addition to that, you know, where markets exist in in Asia typically or Turkey, those markets are starting to close down on the basis that countries are now wanting to deal with the issues in-house.
You take across Australia, for example. So about three years ago now, Australia banned the export of whole tyres for recovery outside of the borders of Australia. And and that's where our technology lends itself to effective management of tyre waste. Effectively, what we've got now is we've got the the ability to in-house manage that situation rather than trying to bail box or container cars and send our problem to another country.
Okay. You know, the alternatives to to to landfill would naturally be cement and clinker manufacture. The high ICV of the rubber complements and non call based alternative fuel. Right. But typically boxing and baling tyres and sending them into India for for fairly low quality pyrolysis processes is is the is the key element at this point in time.
Right. Okay. Well how are tyres made, what goes into a tyre and not just rubber is it. But there are lots of components in there to make.
Yeah, I'm certainly not a tyre manufacturing expert, but you know, carbon is is is a major component of that. And I think, you know, the more tyre manufacturers that can start to adopt this whole process of using recovered carbon black into their processes rather than virgin carbon black, that's that'll, that'll add to the sustainability of the tyre manufacturing process.
Now, within our process, we produce a raw carbon char and that carbon char then goes off for a milling process, which then lends itself to depending on the quality of the char that we're producing, lends itself to to being coined a recovered carbon black. There are a couple of manufacturers that are that are using recovered carbon black over virgin carbon black within their process at the moment.
So yeah, we're moving in the right direction as an industry.
So does that mean that you can make tyres out of tyres out of old tyres.
Yeah. From a circularity point of view, absolutely. So I don't know if you can make them one from the other, but certainly you can contribute to the manufacture of new tyres from your old tyres. Right. You know, the Carlton Forest technology is effectively it's an oxygen starved heat process. So we have we have decomposing or breaking down the tyre into into its constituent parts that contributed to the original manufacture of the time.
So we present into our process shredded tyre crumb to a fraction size sub 20 mm. We have a specific residency time, and you know, we have two reactors on our on our land in Worksop in Nottinghamshire. Each operated about 450 degrees centigrade. And that process within an hour's residency time produces a combination of a raw carbon char, along with a condensing and non condensing gases.
Then through a process of of flowing the gases through a condensing array, we were able to harness sin gas, we were able to harness oil and effectively the carbon charge that we're producing goes through a deodorizer and it eventually becomes millable at that point in time.
Which is the circularity element to it. You know, if we, if we're burning through incineration or going through some of clinker processes, the challenge is that your CO2 emissions are probably higher than what we're achieving. Our emission standards are our emission control systems. Our sim system meets the emission standards that are issued by local authorities. Right. But we're a fully permitted, fully authorized facility.
So, yeah, circularity is at the heart of what we do.
Brilliant. Brilliant. And so I just want to cover that again a bit. In terms of the products that you're producing through the end of this tyre pyrolosis process, where does that where do those products end up eventually? You mentioned tyres or are there other applications to these to the output of your process?
So if we if we consider that the internal use of of the production process, so through the process, we're producing a raw carbon char, we're producing the type pyrolosis oil, we're producing waste heat and we're producing syngas. Now with the Carlton Forest technology, we have what we coined an island mode solution. And within the Ireland mode solution we have the ability to reach allows the waste heat through a steam turbine.
We boil water and we generate electricity in our plant, generate something in the region of about 200 kilowatts of electricity per hour, and the plant itself consumes around 140, 260 kilowatt hour kilowatts per hour of electricity. So we're not drawing we don't have a net draw from the grid. We're self-sustainable from electric power, from an electricity production point of view.
Okay. That's really our syngas. Once our syngas goes through these thermal oxidizer and is scrubbed and cleaned up that syngas then recirculated into our burners and fuels our burners. Now, we can't be naive enough to think that that's sufficient in terms of spiking our heat. So we do use LPG, we do have the use of virgin gases to spike our our, our burners, but only to the tune of about 25% of our of our fuel for our burners comes from our self production process.
The two salable products that we're producing are the type pyrolysis oil and the carbon char. Now the carbon power that produces around 350 kilograms for every tonne of tyre that we put into the into the hopper process or into the pyrolosis process. Right. And once that's gone through a secondary heating system or what we coined a deodorizer to have to, to manage the, the resultant heavy aromatics or to eliminate any additional gases or noxious materials that then goes off to a third party miller here in the UK.
And that process then engages a wider market, a consumer market or a manufacturing market. So that's the carbon char. So the just one within the circle of production is the is the tyre process oil at the time pyrolysis oil. I mean, two very simple thought processes would be using it as a blending oil for heating for heating applications.
However, we have strong relationships with the refineries here in the UK. We have spent a fairly significant amount of money testing our oil. We have an aggregated value of around 55, 56% in terms of biogenic content. So the oil that we are producing out of our plants is very attractive as a green fuel, as a blending fuel or a co-processing fuel within the refinery market.
Okay. Okay. Thanks for explaining that. And so, you know, you're installing these plants around the world. Do they do you employ a lot of people with that? And is it good for the local economy?
Yeah. So, you know, our IP related products are produced in Johannesburg. So we have our manufacturing operations in Johannesburg, in South Africa. But typically those are the manufacturing process there engages the heavy end equipment. So our thermal reactors, our reactors and our thermal oxidizes rather our dosing equipment, our condensing array. But as we as we move into alternative markets, we then have the ability to engage local suppliers, fans, engines, sensors, you know, all that type of stuff, pipework and welding, labour, all the localized stuff that we typically would find more expensive to ship.
We source at a local level.
Okay, So it's good. It's good for the local economy. Then what about laws, rules, regulations? Do they do they provide a challenge to you in different countries?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's the that's why we've adopted the model that we have in terms of our distribution efforts. So if you take Australia for argument's sake, we've not sort of gone blind into Australia. We've engaged the trade mission here in the UK and Australia House. So they assist in terms of what we do. They set up meetings with, you know, with, with the local governments.
They assist us in terms of setting up joint venture businesses. That said, those does all the administrative tasks. So we do seek assistance from those that know what they're doing in a local, in a local environment. In Australia we have taken on a partner, so we have a joint venture partner on a split equity basis and our partners in Australia are based in Brisbane.
So they are local, they understand the market, they understand the, you know, there's politics that comes with everything in the grand scheme of things, but they also understand the problems that we need to address and they can address them head on. It's not easy managing our deployment in Australia from the UK, but you know, we have a project team, you know, every Wednesday morning we meet very early, which is late afternoon for the Australians and it seems to work and that's the same with the Swedes.
So you know, within the Swedish market we have a, we have a localized partner based in Stockholm and you know, they, they act as financial drivers, as market drivers, as research analysts. And you know, on both sides of the coin, Australia and and Sweden great, great solutions we have in place.
Right. So in terms of sourcing the ties and for your tyre pyrolosis, is a competition over over this?
You know, I mean let let's start in the UK competition for tyre stock in the UK is fierce. It really is fierce. It is the biggest challenge that we have in terms of producing tyre pyrolosis oil, or raw carbon char for the wider market. You know, the biggest challenge we have is geopolitical in that the opportunity to box or container, bailing containerized tyres and send them off to India or to Turkey is attractive from a financial perspective.
The biggest challenge with that, though, is it doesn't meet circular economy standards. It doesn't it it's not sustainable. You know, the the ability to to drive sustainable disposal methods is one of our key ethos within within within the renewables business. Subscribe to the ISCC accreditation. An ISCC is a is a sustainability certification that needs to flow through your entyre supply chain.
So from the oil refineries that take out oil right down to the guys that trade our tyre crumb, you know, we need to make sure that everybody meets those sustainability standards. But yes, you know, to to come back to the question and point, it's tough to find tyre stock. You know, when there's 60 million casings we're trying to find per plant in the UK around 8000 tonnes, which is around 800 to 900, maybe a million tyre casings per year per plant.
You know, the the we are we are competing on a geopolitical basis.
And are you finding that new rules are helping in this regard for you then? You know, the world is trying to become more sustainable, hopefully more regenerative. You noticing that new rules and laws and regulations are working in your favour?
Yeah, I think I think so. I think it's a slow burn and forgive the pun, definitely wasn't intended, but, you know, it's certainly a slow burn. You know, if you take the the Arab States, we have the UAE partners in the UAE, your potential partners in the UAE, who have approached us now. And the the reason for that is, I mean, you think, okay, well, you know, does the UAE need to produce more oil?
No, they don't. And that the offtake challenge there is you're not going to get your oil that you're producing into a an Arab based refinery because that's not how they work there. So all oil produced from a renewable factor is exported out of the UAE. And now the challenge is playing into pyrolysis operators hands in that a lot of a lot of countries are following their sustainability standards.
So they're now shutting down their exports into alternative markets for disposal and then managing the processes on their own. So if you you know, the UAE has adopted the Australian model, we will not export our tyres outside of the UAE anymore. You know, it's staying in and that's now law. Okay. And and many and there's many countries following the exact same model.
I mean, are you engaging with the Tyre manufacturers as well? I mean, you know what, with the science based targets, Scopes one, two and three, are they interested in working with you and the by knowing what's happening to their tyres after they've sold them?
Yeah, Yeah, absolutely. You know, the Carlton Forest directly is is engaging a couple of the very large tyre manufacturers. Only last week we had Yeah. Last week we had a meeting with them with a Finnish based tyre manufacturer who are already using recovered carbon black within their manufacturing process. So I think it's important that we, you know, we ran the systems in parallel.
One, we engage those that are utilizing the recovered products within the manufacturing process, but additionally use that as an evidence based case to to engage those that are slightly wary about using recovered based products rather than virgin products in their manufacturing process. And, you know, rightly so. It's a safety issue. And until they're 100% happy that their safety is not compromised, you know, we will continue to fight that good fight.
Right. But there's no so, Michelin, there aren't encouraging Michelin Tyres to return to everything like that happens.
Yeah, there are. They are. They absolutely are. You know, I'm I'm loath to to point out specific manufacturers. However, you know, as I said, you know, and this is this is in the public space, certainly Michelin and Bridgestone are actively engaged in the process of researching development, installation of technology that would utilize alternative waste streams or alternative products within the manufacturing process.
So, yeah, definitively they are. There's also you know, there's there's technology coming out of the woodwork now that would allow the traceability elements to complement the ISCC accreditation. So if Mrs. Migen's puts a tyre on a car at a leading High Street tyre distributor, yeah, you know, we will be able to establish that that particular manufactured tyre from Mrs. Migan's car, Once it's done, 40,000 miles comes off.
Her car is then barcode scanned again. And the traceability in terms of the disposal methods are all reconciled so that that particular manufacturer can close the loop on the disposal responsibility, the producer responsibility.
Fantastic. Imagine if all all manufacturers of all products did stuff like that. You know, I imagine it would be the home run for us. So wouldn't it?
Manufacturers took responsibility for their products as well.
So we also need government to step up. You know, there's a there's a funding requirement there. There's a there's a resource requirement, There's a legislative requirement. And government needs to step up and play their parts in this process.
If Mrs. Migans wanted to make sure that her tyre was being her tyres have been properly recycled.
Is there any way she can do that at the moment? Is there any, any badges, any certifications.
Yeah. So the ISCC accreditation, if Mrs. Migans goes into her local high street retailer and asks them if they are ISCC accredited, it's an international sustainability certification and the ISCC reconciliation, the ISCC audit process, the ISCC ethos is all about sustainability and you've got to have buy in from everybody and the major buy in is the end user of the recovered product.
So, you know, we're driven by the we're driven by the refineries. So the refineries, if we're producing them, if we're supplying them with tyre pyrolosis oil, the refineries want us to be ISCC accredited, which means if we want to bring tyre crumb for processing and into our plants, our suppliers have to be ISCC accredited, which means the the the retailer has to be ISCC accredited to supply them.
So it only needs one driver to to maintain a sustainability supply chain,
when you say refineries, are there any household names you might recognize?
I don't I don't know that there would be any household name. Certainly the refinery is is is one that we engage with on a regular basis. Okay. But yeah, you know, there's there's there's a the UK is slightly is is dragging themselves into the sustainable into the use of of sustainable co-processing fuels. But the Humber refinery is leading that charge at this point in time.
Right. Right right. And I'm just curious in the Humber refinery after they've taken your her pyrolosis oil. Yeah they they they they they turn it into what's what do they do with it.
Co-Processor so they blended with, with with virgin fuels. Right. So it's all based on the biogenic content. So naturally the higher the biogenic content the, the greener the fuel. You know, at the moment we have a there's, there's a significant hole in the market in terms of the, the opportunity to supply alternative fuels. They are not enough alternative fuel suppliers for the hunger that the refineries have to co process specifically you know the Humber refinery at this at this point in time.
And you know the more they can bring in the greener in the fuel will be so you know I jump back to the I've jump back to the government intervention. The government have to come to the party with type of thing. they set us targets, they set us goals. But there's that skills gap, there's that funding gap that stops the ability to to move forward at a reasonable pace.
So, you know, how does Carlton Forest renewables,look at sustainability alongside tyre pyrolosis and and that process.
I think, Paul, you know, we've got to consider certain elements of how we engage the process and whether or not the process is going back into the system. You know, we're very clear in terms of how we operate our pyrolosis process. It is ultimately going as a co- processing fuel or a similar energy based model. We we limit our emissions to well below standards.
So we're maintaining sustainability from that point of view. Yeah, we you know, when we bought the IRR business, we enhanced the scrubbing technology in terms of noxious gases, so we have a thermal oxidizer attached to our two reactors that that manages the, the gaseous outputs before we get to atmosphere and what we emit to atmosphere is significantly below what we're allowed to.
So we feel that, you know, from a sustainability point of view, we're going above and beyond. Yep. And as I said, you know, earlier on or another stage within this podcast, I said, you know, we could have employed technology that simply created heat to create friction, to create a turbine to spin and generate electricity. But, you know, whilst we are doing that, we are creating heat through steam engines, know we create electricity through a steam turbine that's for our own electrical generation so that we're not getting off the grid yet.
And that's, you know, that so underscores our sustainability model.
Brilliant, brilliant. I think it is in the name of that Carlton Forest Renewables sort of stability.
Are doing this in the cleanest way that it can be done and solving a really big problem. I mean, that's so however many billions of tyres that is every year, that's obviously a big problem.
So yeah, exactly.
I really appreciate your time on this podcast. I've learned a lot about tyre pyrolosis and the process, you know, and the problem that you're addressing. How are you’re helping us to create a more sustainable, hopefully regenerative world. Thanks again. Thanks for your time.
Thanks for having us, Paul.