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A powerful new use for old tyres

On-road testing of a vehicle fuelled with a mix of tyre oil and standard diesel has found no loss of performance and emissions similar to that of diesel-only fuel. The tyre oil is made from recycled tyres.

First published 2 March 2018
  • Old tyres are an environmental and health hazard
  • NSW company Green Distillation Technologies extracts oil from old tyres
  • A mix of recycled oil and diesel was tested in a diesel vehicle in city conditions
  • Results show no loss of performance and similar emissions to diesel-only fuel

 

 

The tests, conducted by Professor Richard Brown, director of QUT’s Biofuel Engine Research Facility, and Dr Tim Bodisco from Deakin University, used oil extracted from discarded tyres by a unique process developed by NSW-based Green Distillation Technologies (GDT).

Recycled tyre oil as a diesel additive could provide a solution to the global stockpiling of 1.5 billion tonnes of used tyres each year, including the 55 million tyres discarded by Australians annually.

Professor Brown and Dr Bodisco tested the 10 per cent tyre oil/diesel mix in a 2.5litre engine 2017 Hyundai iLoad van, a vehicle favoured by couriers, which has an engine similar to SUVs and 4WDs.

They compared its performance and emissions with those from the same van driven under the same conditions with diesel-only fuel.

“The on-road tests showed the fuel mix was compatible with a popular engine type and produced no adverse effects in power and performance,” Professor Brown said.

“The latest on-road tests results showed more variability in nitrogen oxide emissions than the laboratory results had shown but similar variability to the 100 per cent diesel test comparison.

“We will conduct further research to investigate why the nitrogen oxide emissions were sometimes higher and sometimes lower than that of diesel.”

 

Dr Bodisco said the fluctuations in nitrogen oxide emissions depended on traffic and environmental conditions.

“We need to gain an understanding of the causes to help vehicle manufacturers and regulators to better manage vehicle emissions,” he said.

Green Distillation Technologies chief operating officer Trevor Bayley said that the testing showed recycled tyre oil could be used with diesel in a vehicle without further refining.

“The oil that comes from our process is a crude oil and the on-road tests show that it can be used in this way,” he said.

Mr Bailey said GDT’s process of reclaiming oil, steel and carbon from end-of-life tyres provided a huge environmental boost.

“Used tyre stockpiles around the world are a health hazard: a tyre dump fire is virtually impossible to put out and produces toxic gases. Used tyre stockpiles provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.”

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