Wastefront in Sunderland (render)

Wastefront AS, an Oslo based waste tire recycling company, has chosen Port of Sunderland for the construction of its first plant. On completion in 2022, it is said to be the greenest waste tire recycling plant in the UK.

Alternative fuel or rubber

The plant will convert locally-sourced tires waste into useful commodities, including liquid hydrocarbons and carbon black. These ‘new’ raw materials can be reutilized in processes such as alternative fuel or ground rubber manufacturing.

The construction of the plant is expected to generate around 100 jobs in the region and, once fully up and running in the second half of 2022, the plant will employ up to 30 people full time. Wastefront recently received funding from the Norwegian state-owned company and national development bank, Innovation Norway and it is supported by a government agency, The Research Council of Norway (Skattefunn). The company aims to raise investment from the UK, the Nordic countries, and International investors in Q1 2021, in order to facilitate the construction of the plant. 

12 pyrolytic reactors

The plant will at full scale include 12 pyrolytic reactors that utilize a form of thermal decomposition known as ‘pyrolysis’ to break down a tire’s materials at elevated temperatures. By sending tires through pyrolytic reactors with a catalyst, Wastefront converts disused tires into liquid hydrocarbons, carbon black and heat.

The full-scale plant will produce 60 tonnes of carbon black per day. Carbon black is the chemical building block in many products such as tires and plastics, water filtration, printer ink, paint, even toothpaste, and cosmetics. In addition, the plant will be able to produce 90 tonnes of liquid hydrocarbons per day, which can be refined to produce sustainable fuel products, such as ethane, propane, butane, diesel, and gasoline. The heat generated from Wastefront’s processes will be repurposed locally within the industry or can also be used to heat residential homes.

Christian A. Hvamstad

“Our ambition is to create a new circular economy for dealing with waste issues, and a crucial element of sustainable waste handling is to be able to do so locally”, says University of Sunderland alumnus and Wastefront’s Chief Strategy Officer, Director and Co-Founder, Christian A. Hvamstad.  “Wastefront’s first plant in Sunderland will represent a valuable contribution to a cleaner future by dealing with a specific waste problem, where end-of-life tires no longer end up in landfills in overseas countries but instead are converted into useful commodities that can be used within the region.”

Wastefront was founded in Oslo in 2019 by its CEO Inge Berge, CSO and Director Christian Armand Hvamstad, and CFO Vegard Bringsjord.

Wastefront – projected Sunderland plant site

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.