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STEP 01 - RECLAIM

Rubber crumb or granulate can be produced using ambient, cryogenic or wet grinding techniques. Ambient ground crumb of a defined size is the first step in producing a high value devulcanized rubber recyclate for reuse using Recyclatech’s Technology.

STEP 02 - RECYCLE

Recyclatech's Technology uses patented biotechnological intellectual property to devulcanize rubber crumb from waste tyres and for the processed material to re-enter the high value markets of the materials chain.

STEP 03 - REENGINEER

Recyclatech’s reprocessed rubber can be substituted for natural and synthetic virgin rubber at approximately 50% of the cost.

Find out about our environmentally friendly rubber recycling process and the latest news on developments with Recyclatech.

Recyclatech and Napier University in the press

News Image Background Napier Craiglockhart Building
17/02/2009

A team of scientists from Napier University in Edinburgh has won a £160,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise to develop a project that will tackle the problem of spare tyres.

Each year British motorists discard around 50 million tyres, 18 million of which are dumped in landfill sites. The remainder are burned as fuel by power stations, recovered for use as retread tyres or ground down to produce absorbent playground surfaces.

The Scottish scientists hope an army of bacteria can be set to work on the mountain of tyres generated each year allowing them to be converted back into reusable rubber.

Professor Nick Christofi, who is leading the project, says: "Later this year, it will become illegal under an EU Directive to dump tyres in landfill sites, and by 2006 for shredded tyres to be disposed of in this way. Therefore, the race is on to find environmentally friendly ways of getting rid of used tyres."

If the two-year study is successful, the scientists believe they will be able to extract high-quality rubber from old tyres - which could then be used to make new tyres or other rubber products.

Christofi says: "Rubber gains its strength through a process called vulcanisation which adds sulphur to rubber molecules. The bacteria, which is found naturally on former coal mining and oil production sites, can devulcanise the rubber tyres by eating the sulphur."

Christofi, an environmental biotechnological, is working with colleagues David Bond, a chemist, and John Morton, a microbiologist. The patented bacteria have been isolated at Napier University from coal bing samples recovered from West Lothian.

The scientists will use the funding to test their concept and if it's successful, they will then look for a private sector partner to set up a factory to exploit the new technique.

Christofi continues: "Garages and tyre retailers are charged around £98m a year by specially licensed companies which dispose of old tyres, but none of the current methods are good for the environment.

 "We already know, from lab tests, that the bacteria feeds on sulphur and are confident it can work in this application."

A tyre is made of rubber, steel and fabric. Napier's process involves grinding the old tyres down, removing the metal and fibre, before the resulting rubber chunks are added to a tank of liquid containing the bacteria. The bacteria act on the rubber chunks at a molecular level.

The resulting liquid rubber can then be used for manufacturing, apart from a small amount which is left to carry on the process of creating new bacteria processed into new rubber products including quality tyres.

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