Clermont-Ferrand, France – A European consortium coordinated by French tire maker Michelin has been launched to design “world first” processes to recycle end-of-life tires (ELTs) for the production of new tires.
Officially funded by the EU in May, BlackCycle involves 13 organisations, including seven industrial partners, five research & technological organisations (RTOs) and an innovation cluster from five countries, Michelin announced 3 Sept.
With an overall budget of €16 million, the “unique” public-private partnership will examine the technical, environmental, and economic viability of circular processes for the production of sustainable secondary raw materials (SRM) for new tires.
The raw materials produced by the new processes will be used to develop new ranges of passenger car and truck tires, to be sold commercially in European and global markets. Michelin said in a statement.
The consortium covers five European countries of France, Spain, Germany, Greece, and Switzerland.
It will address various aspects of ELT collection and feedstock selection, pyrolysis optimisation, oil refining and valorisation, furnace process optimisation, and sustainable tire performance assessment, according to Michelin.
The project is expected to enable the incorporation of “close to one out of every two European ELTs” into new tires in as early as five to six years, the tire maker added.
According to Michelin, 1.6 billion new tires – more than 26 million tonnes – are sold worldwide each year, and as many fall into the category of end-of-life tires (ELT).
With existing recycling processes not being "circular", the BlackCycle project aims to provide solutions that will enable the use of ELTs in the production of new tires.
The project also expects to reduce the amount of waste tire exports out of the EU, as the region ships more than half of end-of-life and second-hand tires to "far-off countries".
In addition, Michelin said, the BlackCycle value chain is anticipated to lower the tire production’s carbon footprint by 0.93 kg CO2/kg tires.