Enviro’s Tyre Pyrolysis Oil passed a refinery trial and was approved as a feedstock by the subsidiary of a major US refiner in 2022. In Feb 2023 Enviro secured its first sale of TPO to this refinery.
The sale of TPO to a refiner demonstrates that TPO can be refined into fully compliant road fuel – diesel and petrol – thus meeting fuel standards such as EN590 and EN228. Enviro’s TPO is certified under ISCC and the resultant fuel is also fully or partially renewable. There is also the potential to produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF, from TPO.
TPO has many similarities to crude oil which makes it refinable through many, but not all, conventional refineries. It does, however, have characteristics which require specialist processing. This means that more sophisticated refining is required. Refineries have first to test the TPO in their laboratories, and then undertake trials on the refinery itself.
Putting this into perspective, the UK produces over 400,000 tonnes of end of life tyres each year. From this about 150,000 tonnes of fuel, enough for 200,000 cars, could be produced each year. About 45% of this fuel is purely renewable however the balance of the fuel also brings environmental benefits. Converting the UK’s tyres into clean-burning fuel avoids their export and use for heat, power leading to emissions and environmental hazards. As of 2021 over 75% of UK used tyres were still being exported for industrial heat and power generation (e.g. in Turkey), but also for conversion into crude commercial heating oil (e.g. India).
There remain some hurdles, however. The UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation currently fails to provide certainty on the incentive to produce such fuel, called ‘Develoment Fuel’, from TPO. This is impeding the large scale deployment of tyre pyrolysis in the UK. Furthermore the UK’s environmental legislation classifies TPO as legally a waste placing administrative and regulatory burdens on transport, storage and refining. Both issues are being tackled by the Renewable Transport Fuel Association.
Other countries are addressing similar issues, some with more success. Enviro’s TPO is now also being evaluated by Preem in Sweden, with a trial scheduled for Q1 2023.