Tire pyrolysis oil gets new attention in Europe

BASF has signed a deal to use pyrolysis oil made by heating waste tires without oxygen as an alternative to fossil fuel feedstock in its crackers. The German firm has agreed to purchase up to 4,000 metric tons per year of tire-derived pyrolysis oil from Hungary’s New Energy. BASF says it successfully ran New Energy’s oil through its complex in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF already has an agreement with the Norwegian firm Quantafuel to buy pyrolysis oil made from mixed-waste plastic. Other firms advancing tire pyrolysis include the Swedish start-up Enviro, which earlier this year partnered with the tire producer Michelin. And the Norwegian tire-recycling start-up Wastefront announced in July that it plans to build a tire pyrolysis plant in the UK. These initiatives follow years of failed attempts to convert used tires into useful materials. Tires cannot simply be melted down like other polymers because the rubber is cross-linked with sulfur in a process that is not easily reversed.

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