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A pre-lodgement meeting has been held with Toowoomba Regional Council to determine the planning steps to be taken for the construction of a plant to recycle old tyres into oil, carbon and steel at the Wellcamp Business Estate in Toowoomba, using world-first environmentally friendly Australian technology.

The plant will be operated by Green Distillation Technologies, an Australian company that has developed a unique process that will recycle old tyres. The plant is expected to process 19,300 tonnes, or a mix of 658,000 car and truck tyres per year, to yield approximately 8 million litres of oil, 7,700 tonnes of carbon and 2,000 tonnes of steel.

GDT Chief Operating Officer Trevor Bayley, who was at the meeting attended by representatives of the Toowoomba Regional Council said that no significant obstacles were raised that cannot be easily overcome, so we anticipate that the next step will be the lodgment of the Planning Development Application in three to four weeks time.

“The positive ‘can do’ attitude of the meeting was extremely commendable and if the process continues to flow in the same manner we could see a start of the construction by September this year at the very latest.

“The plant is expected to cost $10 million, to become fully operational in mid-2019 and employ 15 to 18 permanent staff and local contractors during construction.

“The initial plant will be designed to handle car and truck tyres but could be expanded at a later date to process oversize tyres such as those used for mining dump trucks, quarries, road making and agricultural equipment,” Mr Bayley said.

The tyre recycling facility will be built at the Wellcamp Business Park which is being developed by the Wagner Family, responsible for the construction of the new Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport. The land will be leased by Green Distillation Technologies, using their world-first Australian technology that will recycle end-of-life tyres into oil, carbon and steel using their ‘destructive distillation’ process.

They received an Edison Award in 2015 and were Australia’s first ever winner in a competition which is regarded as the world’s top prize for innovation.

The plant, which will completely recycle the whole tyres and not cut or crumb the rubber, is expected to draw the stock of old tyres from the Toowoomba region and further west, which will be expanded with the completion of the new inland rail link.

The GDT ‘destructive distillation’ process recycles each tyre into oil, carbon and steel. The oil can be used as a heating fuel, direct into stationary diesel engines or is capable of further refinement into automotive or aviation jet fuel and other oil derived products.

The oil from the recycled tyres is described as a light crude which is easy to refine and is expected to go to the Northern Oil refinery at Gladstone.

The carbon is a high-grade product that has massive world-wide potential for sale as carbon, in the form of carbon black, and is one of the world’s most widely used ingredients in many products ranging from tyres, plastics and paints, water filtration, printers ink, paint, electrodes, graphene, toothpaste and cosmetics including eyeliner, mascara, nail polish, eye shadow, blushes, rouge and lipstick.

And finally the steel reinforcing mesh and beading of the tyre can be fully recycled or returned directly to the tyre manufacturers for reuse in new tyres.

The volume of valuable recyclable material produced by the process is impressive and a typical 10 kg car tyre will yield 4 litres of oil, 4kg of carbon, 2kg of steel, a 70kg truck tyre will provide 27 litres of oil, 28 kg of carbon, 15 kg of steel and 4 tonne oversize mining dump truck tyre will yield 1.6 tonnes of carbon, 0.8 tonne of steel and 1500 litres of oil.

Green Distillation Technologies Chief Operating Officer Trevor Bayley said: “There are 1.5 billion tyres discarded globally each year with Australia generating around 25 million disused tyres a year while the USA currently discards more than 250 million old tyres.

Getting rid of old tyres in an environmentally-friendly way has been a universal nightmare for authorities. Stockpiles of used tyres around the world are a health hazard, as a result of fires at tyre dumps which are difficult to put out and generate huge amounts of toxic smoke, and in tropical areas old tyres are a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, dengue fever and malaria.

“Grinding the tyres into crumbs is not a solution as there is only so much that can be used in playgrounds and on sporting fields and regrettably the greatest proportion finishes up as furnace fuel, which is a waste of such a valuable raw material as well as creating noxious greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We believe that in the future our process will become the standard means of disposing of old tyres in an environmentally friendly way, which is consistent with the growing trend towards achieving a circular economy,” Mr Bayley said.

About Green Distillation Technologies Corporation: GDT is an Australian company which has developed world-first technology to recycle end-of-life car and truck and oversize tyres into carbon, oil and steel.

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