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Old tyres can be turned into oil

Old car tyres can now be turned into diesel oil.

UTD Research, based in Wrexham, North Wales, has applied to patent the invention, which could see up to two million old tyres processed a year.

In a recent televised test, reclaimed oil from the process was mixed with fuel- station diesel to power a family saloon car.

It performed normally without any modifications.

Paul Archer, a former firefighter, who thought of the idea in the early ’90s and formed UTD with business partners, said: “The EU ban on dumping old tyres in landfill sites, coupled with the recent hike in crude oil prices, means that our process is economically viable.

“The beauty of our business model is that we get paid at both ends.

“The companies that take away old tyres are no longer allowed to dump them, so they pay us to take them off their hands.

“Then, when we’ve done the processing, we can sell the steel, carbon black and oil that we recover.”

UTD’s process is called continuous reductive distillation.

It involves breaking up old tyres into fist-sized chunks and loading them into a machine resembling an industrial tumble-drier.

There, they are heated in a sealed, oxygen-deprived atmosphere until the volatile constituents separate from the carbon and steel solids.

Some gases given off are recycled to power the heating process, but most are condensed into oil.

Archer initially received a £70,000 loan to build a working prototype from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

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