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New UK recycling plant for tyres planned

Fabric reinforcement components can be turned into pyrolysis oil for BASF.

19th July 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  United Kingdom

Transport/​Aerospace, Sustainable

Suez recycling and recovery UK has entered into a one-year exclusivity agreement with Pyrum Innovations, based in Dillingen/Saar, Germany, to build the UK’s first plant using Pyrum’s patented pyrolysis technology for recycling end-of-life tyres.

Over the coming 12 months, the agreement will see Suez identify a location for the first plant and initiate the approval process with support from Pyrum. The planned plant will comprise three pyrolysis reactors with a recycling capacity of around 20,000 tons of end-of-life tyres per year.

Pyrum’s patented pyrolysis reactor technology will result in the recovery of high-quality raw materials from tyres, saving up to 72% of CO2 emissions in the process when compared with current recycling methods.

During the pyrolysis process, tyres are separated into their component raw materials – oil, carbon black and pyrolysis gas. The carbon black is re-used in the manufacturing of new tyres, the oil is taken by BASF and recycled into new products and the Pyrolysis gas is used to power the plant.

Products made from pyrolysis oil using a mass balance approach have been shown to have the same properties as products made from primary fossil resources. In addition, they cause a significantly smaller CO2 footprint than conventional products. According to a study by the consulting company Sphera, one ton of polyamide 6 (PA6) that is manufactured with Pyrum thermolysis oil emits around 1.3 tons less CO 2 than one ton of PA6 that is manufactured with fossil-based raw materials.

Tyre reinforcements in cars are generally made of polyester or viscose/rayon fabrics with average textile fibre content of between 0.25-0.35 kgs of material for each tyre. Tyre reinforcements for light commercial vehicles include polyester and steel, but with around 0.30-0.35 kgs of textile reinforcement per tyre. Radial medium and heavy commercial vehicle tyres generally have steel reinforcement today, with cross-ply tyres having between 4-5kgs of largely polyamide-based textile reinforcement per tyre.


In partnering with Pyrum, Suez is tapping into the UK’s recycling market for end-of-life tyres, where more than half of the annual 50 million (480,000 tons) used tyres are currently not recycled.

Suez brings a track record in providing resilient solutions for waste to the project and significant expertise and experience in delivering new infrastructure, from design through to operation.

“This agreement marks an exciting milestone for Suez as a leader in the development of a more circular, resource efficient UK economy,” said John Scanlon, CEO at Suez recycling and recovery UK. “This technology will see a vast improvement in the recycling of end-of-life tyres, and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.”

“The European rollout of our unique technology continues to progress,” added Pascal Klein, CEO of Pyrum Innovations. “The first UK site will now be identified as soon as possible. We will then work together to complete the approval process with the local authorities.”

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