Australian innovation turning old tyres into diesel biofuel impresses in lab tests


An Australian technology that converts used tyres into oil, carbon and steel has surprised scientists who ran lab tests while using the oil as a diesel fuel.

The ABC reports that start-up Green Distillation Technologies, which opened a plant last year in western NSW, can convert old tyres into different compounds using heat and chemical processes.

“Heat is applied which acts as a catalyst for a chemical reaction, which sees the tyre destructed into different compounds, one of which is condensed into manufactured oil,” director Trevor Bayley told the ABC.

Queensland University of Technology’s Biofuel Engine Research facility ran tests on a six-cylinder diesel engine using the manufactured oil in 10 per cent and 20 per cent diesel blends.

Researchers found a 30 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions using the fuels, according to the article.

“There was also a reduction by a third in particle mass. It works well,” said the university’s Professor Richard Brown.

The Australian Financial Review reported last year that inventor and CTO Denis Randall developed the process due to the problem of end-of-life tyres ending up as landfill. An estimated 20 million tyres become landfill in Australia every year.

The company’s destructive distillation process, according to its website, can turn 3.5 tonne mining truck tyre into “1500 litres of oil, 1.5 tonnes of carbon, as well as the steel reinforcing which will go back to the tyre manufacturer for reuse.”

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