Belgium-based startup RISORCE (Renewable, Innovative Solutions towards Recycling & Circular Economy) has recently secured €12.5 million in investment to establish an end-of-life tyre recycling facility in the province of Liège. This initiative is part of a broader industry effort to enhance the sustainability, circularity, and recyclability of car tyres.
Transforming Tyres into Valuable Resources
RISORCE, founded in 2022, plans to employ a pyrolysis process that primarily yields oil as a byproduct from discarded tyres. The produced oil will be sold as a raw material to European petrochemical companies. Additionally, the factory will extract carbon black and gas, both of which can find use in industrial processes or meet the plant’s operational requirements. This innovative approach significantly reduces the carbon emissions associated with used tyre disposal.
“RISORCE meets a need for local solutions in Belgium for processing tyre waste, while at the same time being firmly committed to a circular economy approach. We are offering a locally-based solution that is both technologically and environmentally robust. A real innovation,” shared Bernard van den Wouwer, Founder & CEO of RISORCE.
Taking Recycling to the Next Level
While pyrolysis is not a new concept, its application to recycling tyre granulates is relatively new. The €12.5 million investment comes from a group of investors, including GREEN.er (Recytyre), Noshaq, Wallonie Entreprendre, and others. The project aims to accommodate six waste tyre processing units on the site, enabling the annual processing of 18,000 tons of tyre granules, equivalent to 2,400,000 tyres.
Chris Lorquet, CEO of Recytyre, noted, “The traditional rubber recycling industry is at a turning point. It needs to reinvent itself. The future of material circularity lies in the chemical processing of tyre components.”
Enhancing Sustainability in Tyre Manufacturing
The push for sustainable materials in tyre manufacturing is gaining momentum. Continental, a German tyre maker, aims to have all its tyres produced from sustainable materials by 2050. This includes using renewable bio-materials like natural rubber from dandelions, silicate from rice husk, ash, and vegetable oils and resins, thereby reducing reliance on crude oil.
Tackling Tyre Pollution
Tyres contribute to pollution through wear emissions, which are harmful to health, air quality, soil, and water. Research by Emissions Analytics revealed that tyre particulate wear emissions are 1,850 times greater than tailpipe particulate mass emissions during normal driving, exacerbating environmental concerns.
Efforts are underway to address this issue. Initiatives like renting tyres instead of buying them and promoting circular design for tyres on e-bikes are emerging as promising solutions to reduce waste and minimize environmental impact.
As the world focuses more on sustainability, innovations like RISORCE’s tyre recycling plant mark significant steps towards a greener, more eco-friendly future.