AN £80m tyre recycling plant is poised to create 90 jobs in the North East and make the region a European leader in new technology.
London-based company PYReco aims to have the plant up and running on Teesside by next year where around 60,000 tonnes – or 7.5 million used tyres – will be recycled annually.
The plans for the plant, to be based at South Tees Eco Park (Step) in Middlesbrough, are still going through the planning process but those behind the project are confident it will get the nod.
PYReco uses a novel process called pyrolysis, which harnesses heat to degrade used tyres without producing waste or harmful emissions. Traditionally, tyres have proved difficult to recycle and have been burnt in cement kilns but the pyrolysis process allows them to be broken down into component parts for reuse.
PYReco chairman, Anthony Carter, said: “This represents the conclusion of a long-lasting quest to find a viable solution to one of the UK and Europe’s most difficult recycling problems.
“It provides a highly effective and ‘green’ way of dealing with used tyres. It is a project of global importance and with Teesside’s long history of expertise in petro-chemicals, it is only fitting that our business will be based here.”
The plant will turn Teesside into a pioneering area for use of the pyrolysis technology in Europe. PYReco says there will be scope for further expansion because the same technology can also be used to recycle other materials.
The system will produce oil and gas, which PYReco says will produce up to 17MW of electricity when the plant is fully operational.
Refined carbon black and high tensile steel gathered from the recycling process will be sold to industry for reuse. Around 50 permanent jobs are expected to be created at the site plus additional posts in supporting services such as sales, administration, distribution and tyre shredding. As well as the petrochemicals experience found on Teesside, PYReco was also impressed with the infrastructure that was in already in place.
It worked with Renew, an organisation under the Centre for Process Innovation’s umbrella, which was set up last year to attract low carbon and sustainable business to the North East. Renew persuaded the London company to come North after it had looked at three alternative sites - and Mr Carter was impressed with what he saw.
He said: “The way Teesside has organised its reception committee is completely different. There were people who were ready to welcome us. The other thing you have which is a huge advantage is the legacy of ICI.
“We found a can do attitude and willingness to collaborate. It was so refreshing. You can quite reasonably expect to be the emerging industrial heartland of the UK in the next generation.”
For more on recycling in the North East log on to www.nebusiness.co.uk