Why Gasify High-BTU-Value Tire Rubber?

Why Does it Make Sense to Gasify High-BTU-Value Tire Rubber?
Using carbon-based waste as the feedstock, gasification and pyrolysis make it possible to reach high efficiencies based on a fundamentally clean and renewable fuel. In the last few decades several gasification and pyrolysis plants have come on line, principally in Japan and Europe, where the use of landfills is impermissible or far more limited than in the United States. Of necessity these regions have taken the lead in developing alternative ways to dispose of waste.

Historically Europe and Japan focused primarily on disposing of municipal solid waste (“MSW”) in an environmentally sound way, rather than on energy recovery. Given the predominance of food, paper and wood in the usual MSW blend, it generally has relatively high moisture content and a relatively low BTU-value. Consequently, gasification and pyrolysis of MSW generate a relatively low energy yield per ton. The return on investment in MSW gasification and/or pyrolysis plants is correspondingly low (except in those European countries where there is a relatively high MSW tipping fee and correspondingly high energy price).

In certain locations in Western Europe, fairly substantial tipping fees can be obtained for MSW. In addition government subsidies are available for the electricity generated. This is not, however, the situation in the United States. Until recently the vast majority of gasification and pyrolysis reactors were designed to handle low-BTU-value MSW as the principal feedstock rather than high-BTU-value rubber or plastics. Correspondingly, the traditional gasification and pyrolysis systems were not designed to handle the higher temperatures generated by gasification of exclusively high-BTU-value feedstock such as tires or plastics.

Because of its limited temperature capability pyrolysis is less suitable than gasification for handling feedstock consisting almost entirely of high-BTU-value tire rubber that generates higher temperatures during the degradation process. Because of rapidly increasing fuel prices and growing environmental concerns, there now is renewed and accelerated interest in gasification and/or pyrolysis of carbon-based feedstocks as a source of much cleaner alternative energy. GreenTire has identified and formed a working relationship with the only company having a proven gasification technology capable of handling feedstock consisting almost entirely of high-BTU-value tire rubber.