An Australian start-up has found a way to turn old rubber tires into an environmentally-friendly fuel. Green Distillation Technologies (GDT) can produce 3,000 liters of bio-oil from seven tons of tires. The company uses a process that involves the destruction of carbon-based molecules to create renewable energy. GDT chief operating officer Trevor Bayley and researcher Farhad Hossain explain how rubber tires are the eco-friendly future of fuel.
How did you come up with this eco-friendly solution?
Trevor Bayley (TB): We first started with car, truck and bus tires. The technology actually works on any carbon-based product but the research and development founders directed their attention to tires. It works exceptionally well, so it is a natural progression here in Australia which is heavily mining dependent.
How does the process work?
It involves the destruction of carbon-based molecules. These random molecules recombine into a vapor which is condensed into a ‘manufactured’ oil, which happens to be close to a diesel fuel number 2 standard. Oil is simply much easier to collect and store than gas which would be the alternative for this process.
Is your fuel better than diesel?
Farhad Hossain (FH): We tested most complex chemical and physical properties of GDT tire oil at Queensland University of Technology. We analyzed that data and found good results for use in diesel engines. Finally, we tested tire oil at the so-called Biofuel Engine Research Facility in 10 percent and 20 percent diesel blends. Our experiments were performed with a constant speed and load. We found a 30 percent reduction of nitrogen oxide, and lower particle mass emissions with no power loss when compared to diesel fuel. So yes, GDT tire oil is better than diesel.
So it could replace diesel?
I have been working to find an alternative to diesel fuel since 2013 for my PhD project. And I anticipate that GDT tire oil will become this alternative in future.
FH: I will further investigate GDT tire oil, including mining tire oil using real-world engine operation modes to gather more information on heavy duty engine performance and emissions results. I have also been working to develop cost-efficient alternative fuels as a future diesel.