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Fueling the Fire with Recycled Rubber

Published Sep 4, 2013

 

When most people think about tires, they think of transportation. Cars, busses, trucks, and airplanes all require several dozens of tires over their lifetime, and we all depend on those forms of transportation as a society. All of that tire use adds up to a lot of old tires, though. In fact, the EPA estimates that there are more than 300 million scrap tires each year that people get rid of one way or another. Luckily, not all of those tires end up in landfills. About ¾ of them end up being recycled or re-used in some way. Believe it or not, one of the biggest uses of recycled tires is for fuel. And while this use isn’t necessarily what you’d traditionally consider “recycling,” it’s certainly a better use for these tires than taking up space in America’s landfills. Tire-derived fuel is used in a variety of applications, and in most cases, it’s required that tires are first shredded or chipped instead of being used whole. Advantages of Tire-Derived Fuel Did you know that two-thirds of all the rubber in the world is synthetic? The tire fabrication industry is one of the highest consumers of fossil fuels. In fact, just one standard tire contains about 7-10 gallons of oil. Times that by the number of tires our society uses each year, and you get a lot of oil usage. The great thing about tire-derived fuel is not only does that oil get used as a tire throughout its lifetime, but its energy capacity is still able to be utilized afterwards, rather than taking up space in a landfill. Here are some other specifics:

  • Efficiency wise, tire-derived fuel is just as effective as oil, and even produces 25% more energy than coal.
  • When compared to many high-sulfur coals produced in the U.S., tire-derived fuel actually has lower NOx emissions.
  • Tire-derived fuel also creates lower contents of metals in ash residue than some coals.

Who Uses Tire-Derived Fuel? Tire-derived fuel is mainly used in an industrial setting by those who need high amounts of raw energy for things like boilers and kilns. This includes:

  • Paper and pulp mills
  • Cement industry
  • Electric utilities
  • Industrial boilers

Instead using methods like burning coals to heat boilers, kilns, or create electricity (such as for a utility company), they instead are able to burn tires which essentially provides the same energy output. The EPA stated that as long as this combustion happens in a well-design and maintained device, it’s really no different than using other fossil fuels as an energy source. Throughout the world there’s a huge demand for tire-derived fuel. At Eco-Green, our machinery is designed to make tire shredding and recycling a turnkey, effective process. Check out our videos to learn more about how our products can grow your business.

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