Fuels from tyres by pyrolysis in molten salts
The current annual arisings of used car/van tyres in the U.K. has been found to be around 25m (188,000 tonnes). After the established reuse industries have taken their requirements this leaves 13.5m (102,000 tonnes) waste tyres; a quantity that can no longer be satisfactorily tipped. Laboratory scale experiments have shown that tyre can be pyrolised, using a molten carbonate system as the reaction medium, at rates corresponding to 14.9-42.7 g tyre/min. per litre of melt over the range 475 and 650°C. The product yields by weight of tyre input between the same temperatures are: hydrocarbon oil 23-36 wt. %, hydrocarbon gas 7- 18 wt. %, carbonaceous char 35-40 wt. %, steel 16.7 wt. % and inorganics 5.4 wt. %. The oil and gas evolve from the reactor and can easily be collected by conventional means. The steel and inorganics remain in the reactor although on the commercial scale it is proposed that they would be removed by physical and chemical methods respectively. The char was found to pose considerable handling problems and so a method was devised by which it could be gasified in the reactor. This was best achieved by passing air at a less than stoichiometric rate which gave a gaseous product rich in carbon monoxide. In addition this action provides heat for the system as a whole. The rates at 675-9000C were in the range corresponding to 5.6- 14.89 char/min. per litre of melt. A process flow chart has been proposed for a continuous operation based on these systems. Data from theoretical and experimental studies has enabled economic evaluations of several commercial scales to be carried out. These have shown that 4,000 and 10,000 t/yr operations show a DCF rate of return around 30% while a 50,000 t/yr operation shows 60% which would be attractive to an experienced scrap operator.