Christchurch company Eneform has revealed plans to convert old tyres into fuel. Up to 1.5 million tyres a year could be turned into diesel by a Christchurch company.
About five million tyres reach the end of their lives each year in this country, with most going to landfill or exported as waste. But Eneform spokesman Andrew Simcock said the company, which will start building a plant in Rolleston next year, was aiming to change that.
They anticipate being able to start processing plastic from the South Island's 1.5 million end-of-life tyres next year, and would work on expansion to eventually take all of the end-of-life tyres in the country, he said.
The company's operation was continuous and could run 24/7 – the first commercial-size plant of its kind in New Zealand, he said.
Plans to convert tyres into diesel had been in the works for seven years, he said. Local and national tyre collectors were on board with the idea.
"We already have agreements and partnerships in place with local collectors in the South Island, including Tyre Collection Services and Waste Management, to accept required volumes of chipped end-of-life tyres, which when processed produces valuable recycled products."
Eneform's modern pyrolysis-based technology works by cleanly deconstructing waste streams, via a vacuum and heat, into energy and material components.
One of the major products produced from the tyres – along with steel, carbon, gas that largely self-powers the plant, and recoverable heat – is a "green" diesel that can substitute for traditional low-grade fossil fuels currently used in boilers.
The company planned to produce tyre diesel for a large national roading contractor, Simcock said.
The end product would be a cost-effective and have filtered emissions, he said.
The plant will be developed by Eneform with support from partners including Southern Cross Engineering, Petrotec and Hineuru Holdings.
Southern Cross Engineering chief executive Craig Philips said the process used by Eneform was "world-leading" and demonstrated how Kiwi ingenuity could develop unique technological solutions to challenging waste problems.
This week, Packaging NZ executive director Sharon Humphreys said New Zealand should be investigating ways to burn plastic for energy.
China's decision to ban most imported recycling meant more recyclable plastics were being dumped in landfills.
"We need a national strategic plan of what waste and recycling looks like in New Zealand", Humphreys said.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Eneform would be burning tyres, and that its Rolleston plant had already been built.
Amber-Leigh Woolf 15:49, Dec 04 2018 Article