Ultimate Sports, a company that “specializes in every item, large and small, that snowmobilers need in order to enjoy the sport and improve their performance,” has gotten into the tire recycling business, because, why not?
The company has entered into a joint venture with a company called EnSol to fund a tire recycling system called Tire Converter, which converts scrap tires into carbon black, oil, gas, and petroleum solvents. The first unit will be designed specifically to process tire chips. The tire chips will produce gas, carbon black and solvent. The converter unit has been designed to process six tons of scrap tires per day. In return for the investment capital, USI will receive equity and a share of the profit of the joint venture.
From the company’s press release:
Robert Matthews of EnSol states, “Each ton of truck tire feed stock produces approximately 900 lb of carbon black. Carbon black can be sold for about $2-3 per pound. Therefore, one ton of “chipped” tires will produce approximately $2,250 worth of carbon black. Six tons of tires per day can produce about $13,500 of revenue per day. Carbon black can be used to create extruder plastics, paint pigment, rubber manufacturing and filtration mechanisms, and even batteries.”
Two comments: 1. Current contract prices for N550 in the United States are about $0.40 per pound, nowhere near the prices mentioned above. It is true that certain high end pigment grades may sell for $2-$3 per pound, but that brings us to item number 2. 2. Barring some sort of revolutionary development in tire recycling technology, recycled carbon black will continue to be used primarily in relatively non-demanding, non-dynamic applications, such as asphalt modification, floor mats, rubber bumpers, etc. Recycled material is not going into paints, batteries, or tires.