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RJ Lee Group Receives Conditional Approval for Tire Recycling Plant in Pennsylvania

Last month, Notch wrote about plans by RJ Lee Group to build a tire recycling plant at the Paisley Industrial Park in Cumberland Township, in western Pennsylvania. In early April, the Greene County Planning Commission gave conditional approval to plans for the plant, and an application for environmental permits is being reviewed by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Pending state approval, the company hopes to begin operating the plant as early as the end of 2008.

As noted in our previous discussion of this plant, the plant will use a new depolymerization process supplied by Delta-Energy, a private company that was formerly was part of RJ Lee Group. The patented process reportedly results in higher quality carbon black than that produced from traditional high-heat pyrolysis. Delta-Energy currently operates a pilot plant in North Dakota that is producing recycled carbon black, as well as oil and syngas. According to sources at Delta-Energy, the new plant will have a capacity of about 35 tonnes of tire shred per day, resulting in about 14 tonnes of carbon black per day, or about 5,000 tonnes per year.

Delta-Energy has agreed to present a paper on its process at November’s Carbon Black World 2008 conference in Vancouver.

Here is an informative article on the logistics of tire recycling from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It includes details on Delta-Energy’s process and pilot plant. According to Michael Blumenthal, vice president for environment and resource recovery for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, who is quoted extensively in the article,

While the technology [i.e., tire recycling processes that reduce scrap tires to oil, gas and carbon black] has been used by other companies, it has not proven to be a commercial success, Blumenthal said. “There have been many, many attempts at this. At the present, there are no commercially viable operations that are recycling tires into carbon char, oil and gas,” Blumenthal said. To make it economically feasible and achieve maximum operational efficiency, Blumenthal said a company would have to get 1.5 million to 3 million scrap tires, or the equivalent of those tires turned into shreds, in a year. A company could operate its own shredding plant or buy the shredded tires from a processor.

He accurately points out that the key to success for these operations is the development of a viable end-use markets for the plant’s output (i.e., oil, process gas and carbon black).

Here is RJ Lee Group’s announcement of the plant.

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