Global tire producer Michelin Group has announced what it calls a development agreement to acquire a 20 percent stake in Sweden-based Enviro. That firm, founded in 2001, has developed a technology to modify the chemical composition and physical phase of the polymer portion of scrap tires during a pyrolysis process, while ensuring minimal energy consumption, according to Michelin.
The approximately €3 million ($3.25 million) investment by Michelin marks its second major foray into recycling in the past two years. In 2018, Michelin acquired United States-based Lehigh Technologies, and has subsequently invested to bring that firm’s scrap tires-to-micronized rubber powder (MRP) process to Europe.
States Michelin, “For the tire industry and its customers, recycling is a major issue. Each year, about 1 billion tires reach the end of their life. Thanks to this recycling technology, tires considered as used give birth to new quality raw materials.”
Michelin describes the Enviro process as being able to produce “high-quality products such as recovered carbon black, pyrolysis oil, steel or gas—products that can then be re-incorporated into the production circuit of different industrial sectors.”
The development agreement includes plans to build a factory to scale up the pyrolysis technology. The location of that plant will be confirmed at a later date, says Michelin. The agreement itself is not finalized, with a predicted mid-2020 date.
Michelin says it will bring its industrial know-how to the plant’s construction project and its know-how in terms of research and development and production. Enviro will bring its patented pyrolysis technology.
“The partnership we have just signed with Enviro fits perfectly with Michelin's ‘All Sustainable’ vision,” states Sonia Artinian-Fredou, Michelin’s High Technology Materials Business Director.