Cork start-up wins €50,000 in EU funding to recycle tyres faster and more cleanly

2 Apr 2015

Composite Recycling, a Cork-based start-up, has been awarded €50,000 by the European Commission (EC) to recycle whole tyres within 30 minutes using a much cleaner scientific process.

The company was one of eight Irish SMEs to receive funding in the latest round from the SME Instrument of Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation funding programme.

The 10-person company’s process of tyre recycling differs from traditional methods of using a rotary kiln process, which takes between two-to-four hours, and rather uses molten zinc, which breaks the tyre down in approximately 30 minutes

The company claims that its approach is both economical and less harmful to the environment because less energy is used.

Composite Recycling’s process was tested and proven to work in collaboration with University College Cork (UCC) and the Technische University Freiburg, Germany; it is based off a process known as pyrolysis, which is executed under the exclusion of oxygen (no flame), making it self-sustaining.

Dr Frank Riedewald, managing director of Composite Recycling Ltd, said of the need for such a service: “Tyres are a global, large-scale problem with more than 1.5 billion tyres being discarded every year. Stacked on top of each other it reaches a distance nearly halfway to the moon.

“Currently most tyres are being burned in cement or paper mills providing energy, with landfilling being illegal due to the flammability of tyres and other problems. This, of course, provides energy only, but can hardly be called recycling. Ultimately, our recycling facilities will reduce the overall carbon footprint. All going well we hope to have our product on the market in 2018.”

Tyre recycling image, via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic