An asphalt product known as Carbonphalt, made in part with the “char” from thermally treated scrap tires, has been used as paving material at the Norwell Motorplex complex in Queensland, Australia.
The powdered carbon char used an ingredient in Carbonphalt consists of 75 percent pure carbon and is made during a thermal treatment process for scrap tires, according to the Australian companies that helped produce and use the product.
Cooperating on the project were Austek Asphalt Production and Pearl Global, who say they have formed a partnership to develop a product that “has fantastic environmental benefits, including the potential recycling of millions of tires every year that would have ended up in landfill.”
Carbonphalt costs marginally more than conventional asphalt, but offers superior durability, improved stiffness and increased scuffing resistance, say the firms. Approximately 10 vehicle tires are used for every metric ton of Carbonphalt produced, they add.
The Norwell Motorplex is a race driver training and education facility. Approximately 2,500 metric tons of Carbonphalt will be used to re-pave its 2.2 kilometers (1.35 miles) of track, meaning about 25,000 tires will be recycled in the process.
Paul Morris, owner of the Norwell Motorplex and a former competitive driver, says, “This new Carbonphalt is a fantastic product and we are grateful to be one of the first beneficiaries of it at the Norwell Motorplex.”
Pearl Global says its thermal manufacturing process at its plant in Stapylton, Australia, breaks down scrap tires in size from cars to massive mining vehicles to produce carbon char, recyclable steel and a fuel oil product.
Pearl Global’s Gold Coast facility will recycle more than 2 million tires at full capacity. In addition to using the char powder, Austek Asphalt Production estimates it will be able to replace from 1.3 million to 1.6 million liters (343,000 to 422,000 gallons) of diesel fossil fuel with the fuel product made via the tire recovery process.
A second product the two companies say they can make is called Carbonmastic, which they call another form of asphalt that can be applied in thinner layers from 20 to 50 millimeters (three-quarters of an inch to two inches).
“Pearl’s technology represents a significant advancement on other known tire recycling processes and is currently focused on processing end of life rubber, including waste tires,” says Gary Foster, executive chair of Pearl Global.
“We are proud to be working with Pearl Global on a solution to one of the world’s great problems which is the disposal of used tires,” says Peter Ozoux, managing director of Austek Asphalt. “At the same time, we are producing a better product, which has become vital to every society with transport infrastructure.”