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MICHELIN IN EUROPE'S TYRE RECYCLING MEGAPROJECT: TURNING POINT FOR THE TYRE INDUSTRY

Michelin, one of the world's leading tyre manufacturers, is supporting the start-up of an end-of-life tyre recycling project in Europe with Scandinavian Enviro Systems and Antin Infrastructure Partners. The joint venture will create what has been called the world's first large-scale tyre recycling group.




The tyre recycling project

The joint venture is an ambitious initiative involving Michelin and other tyre companies. With the support of Michelin's distribution network, the joint venture aims to establish recycling plants for end-of-life tyres across Europe, with the first plant opening in Sweden as early as 2025. The joint venture will use Enviro's patented technologies for extracting carbon black and pyrolysis oil from end-of-life tyres. Michelin will contribute its know-how from the development of sustainable tyres and Antin will help with the industrial development of technologies to support recycling.

The start-up costs of the project will be financed by Antin's NextGen platform; a majority stake holder. Enviro's shareholding is around 30% with Enviro's patented technology licensed exclusively to the JV throughout Europe. The agreement with Michelin includes the supply of recovered carbon black and tyre pyrolysis oil (TPO), but the manufacturer is also considering participating in the construction of future plants.


2030: the deadline by which one third of the tyres in Europe will be recovered

The goal of recovering one third of tyres by 2030 in Europe is an ambitious but important challenge to reduce environmental impact and promote sustainability.

To reach this goal, an important milestone is the construction of the first commercial plant in Uddevalla, Sweden: this will have an initial recycling capacity of 34,500 tonnes of tyres for disposal, equivalent to 40 per cent of the annual volume of Swedish end-of-life tyres.

Construction of the plant is scheduled to start in the first half of 2023, but its realisation is still subject to the final investment decision of the joint venture. Once completed, the plant will be fully operational by 2025 and the acceleration of the European expansion process will begin. The ultimate goal is to reach a recycling capacity of up to one million tonnes of end-of-life tyres by 2030, corresponding to one third of all tyres disposed of annually in Europe.

This project represents a major advancement in the tyre recycling sector, as it will enable the recovery of a significant amount of valuable materials from used tyres and reduce the environmental impact associated with their disposal. Furthermore, the implementation of a facility of this magnitude also promotes the adoption of sustainable practices and the transition to a circular economy in the tyre industry.

The collaboration between Michelin and the other companies involved in this joint venture demonstrates the industry's commitment to finding innovative solutions for tyre recycling. The use of advanced technologies and efficient processes will maximise the recovery of materials, such as regenerated rubber and metal, while reducing the environmental impact of tyre disposal.


Tyre manufacturers' commitment to sustainability

Michelin is the first tyre manufacturer in the world to present two tyres with a high percentage of environmentally friendly materials that have been approved for use on normal road vehicles. The car tyre and bus tyre contain 45% and 58% environmentally friendly materials respectively.

However, tyre companies are playing a key role in addressing this challenge through recycling initiatives and investments in innovative technologies. We discussed this in this article

One positive aspect is that manufacturers are aiming to achieve sustainability by looking at all materials and processes involved in tyre production. For example, Enviro's technology targeting carbon black and pyrolysis oils complements efforts to replace textile fibres with others made from bottle PVC, metal recovery and the predominant rubber recovery. In this field, devulcanisation technologies, such as that deployed by Rubber Conversion, already make it possible to integrate significant quantities of recycled compound into new compounds.


The environmental impact of tyre recycling

Tyre recycling offers several environmental benefits. First of all, it reduces the impact of solid waste on the environment. In addition, tyre recycling helps reduce the need to extract new natural resources for tyre production, thus preserving the planet's resources.

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, tyre recycling can help reduce the environmental impact. Pyrolysis, for example, can convert used tyres into fuel oil, which can replace traditional fossil fuels. This reduces CO2 emissions associated with the extraction and combustion of oil. In addition, mechanical recycling reduces the need to use virgin raw materials, which means less energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions during the extraction and production processes.


External sources:

To further explore the topic of tyre recycling, here are some external sources that can offer further information:

1. Michelin's official website: https://www.michelin.com/

Michelin's official website offers information on their commitment to sustainability and tyre recycling initiatives.

2. European Tyre Recycling Association (ETRA): http://www.etra-eu.org/

ETRA is a European association that promotes the recycling and sustainable management of tyres. Their website contains information on recycling technologies and initiatives in this field.

3. European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers' Association (ETRMA): https://www.etrma.org/

The ETRMA represents the tyre and rubber industry in Europe. Their website provides data on tyre recycling and industry policies.

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