It’s a long road and 2GB efforts to convert End of Life tyres (ELTs) into biofuel using Enviro’s technology moved forward in 2015 when it gained approval from the Department for Transport to use ELTs as a biofuel feedstock, based on the natural rubber they contain.
In early 2019, RISE, working with Enviro and Ragn Sells, demonstrated Enviro Tyre Pyrolysis Oil (TPO) could be refined through conventional crude oil processes when blended with fossil feedstocks:
This established the technical feasibility of refining TPO into transport fuel.
Following changes to the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (the ‘RTFO’) in 2018, 2GB made a comprehensive application to the UK’s Department for Transport to refine TPO into ‘Development Fuel’, a new and separately incentivised type of renewable transport fuel largely from waste. 2GB was one of the first to gain such approval for any type of Development Fuel.
Development Fuel carries an incentive currently only available in the UK. Conversion of TPO into transport fuel in the UK therefore potentially adds measurably to the value of the TPO, nevertheless 2GB concluded that, whilst standalone refining could be viable, using existing refinery facilities was a better option.
This aligns well with the position of UK fuel suppliers who are under increasing pressure to supply Development Fuel in the UK and 2GB attracted interest from a major international oil company. Comprehensive tests on Enviro TPO implied technical viability through a conventional refinery and potential demand was high.
Considering the emergent scale of the UK’s Development Fuel market, 2GB teamed with OSL Consulting Engineers to undertake a Feasibility Study, part funded by Innovate UK, into the large-scale deployment of Enviro’s pyrolysis technology. This included comprehensive engineering and techno-economic assessments leading to static and dynamic (stochastic) financial modelling across different scales and modes of operation.
Due to a limited UK market for recovered Carbon Black, the Feasibility Study considered both a UK-domestic only scenario (TPO sales only) and with the export of rCB. Modelling demonstrated viability at all scales for an Enviro plant when producing both recovered Carbon Black (rCB) and TPO, assuming onward conversion into Development Fuel; and at large scale when producing TPO alone. It therefore forms a sound platform for the development of a UK project.
2GB has also joined a recently formed Renewable Transport Fuel Association (RTFA) group aimed at establishing TPO as a product, rather than a waste, in order to facilitate its sale and use in the UK, including refining into Development Fuel. The DfT has confirmed that the RTFO incentive is independent of the legal waste status of TPO.