SUEZ and Pyrum join forces to build tyre recycling plant based on innovative pyrolysis technology

The announcement marks the end of the road for unsustainable tyre disposal.

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK (“SUEZ”) today (20 June 2023) announced it has entered into a one-year exclusivity agreement with Pyrum Innovations AG (“Pyrum”) to build the UK’s first plant using Pyrum’s patented pyrolysis technology for recycling end-of-life tyres.

Over the coming 12 months, the agreement will see SUEZ identify a location for the first plant and initiate the approval process with support from Pyrum. The planned plant will comprise three pyrolysis reactors with a recycling capacity of around 20,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres per year.

Pyrum’s patented pyrolysis reactor technology will result in the recovery of high-quality raw materials from tyres, saving up to 72% of CO2 emissions in the process when compared with current recycling methods.

Around 50 million tyres (480kt) are disposed of in the UK, currently 13.4 million of these are used as alternative fuel, with the remaining tyres shredded and ground into a new material called crumb which is used on sports pitches or playgrounds - the rest are sent for energy recovery or to landfill*.

During the pyrolysis process, tyres are separated into their component raw materials – oil, carbon black, and pyrolysis gas. The carbon black is re-used in the manufacturing of new tyres, the oil is taken by BASF and recycled into new products and the Pyrolysis gas is used to power the plant.

Through the partnership with SUEZ, the Germany-based Pyrum Innovations AG is expanding its extensive and promising pipeline for developing pyrolysis plants across Europe.

In partnering with Pyrum, SUEZ is tapping into the UK's recycling market for end-of-life tyres, where more than half of used tyres are currently not recycled.

SUEZ brings to the project its track record in providing resilient and innovative solutions for its customers' waste, with its significant expertise and experience in delivering new infrastructure, from design through to operation. Elsewhere in the Group, SUEZ is innovating with pyrolysis technology in its water business, leading a research program to evaluate the benefits of pyrolysis for treating sewage sludge to capture carbon.

John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said: “This agreement marks an exciting milestone for SUEZ as leaders in the development of a more circular, resource efficient UK economy. With our expertise in delivering new infrastructure, SUEZ are the natural choice to pioneer this innovative technology in the UK, which will see a vast improvement in the recycling of end-of-life tyres, and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions compared with current tyre recycling technologies. We look forward to working with Pyrum over the coming year to develop plans for the first UK plant.”

Pascal Klein, CEO of Pyrum Innovations AG, said: “The European rollout of our unique technology continues to progress. In SUEZ, we were able to partner with one of the leading companies in the field of sustainable solutions and innovative technologies for the British circular economy. Working together, Pyrum and SUEZ will benefit from each other's expertise. The first site will now be identified as soon as possible. We will then work together to complete the approval process with the local authorities.”


* Whole tyres can still be used by landfill sites for engineering purposes.