Four French companies are partnering in a project to develop further applications for used tires. The work partnership is being carried out under the TREC project name and Michelin’s leadership. TREC is backed by a $51 million budget that extends over an eight year period and includes $13.3 million that France’s Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) is providing to Michelin and one other partner, SDTech, as part of the French government’s “Investing in the Future” program. The project covers all stages of research and development processes, from the definition of scientific concepts to pilot testing and validation on an industrial demonstrator.
The TREC project is divided into two focus areas. The first, TREC Regeneration, involves regenerating rubber compounds to make new tires, while the second, TREC Alcohol, will enable the production of a chemical intermediate needed to synthesize raw materials used in tire manufacturing. Alcohol derived from used tires will be included in the BioButterfly butadiene production project alongside biomass alcohol from such sources as sugar, wood and agricultural waste.
For TREC Regeneration, Michelin will draw on the know-how of SDTech (Solides Divisés Technologies) and PCAS Group member company Protéus in the areas of micronization and selective devulcanization, using biotechnologies to create a micropowder that can be used as a raw material in the production of new high-performance tires. TREC Alcohol will see Michelin partner with Protéus and the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) and its Liten facility to develop a chain of technologies ranging from used tire gasification to syngas fermentation to produce alcohol.
“Michelin’s innovation strategy consistently focuses on making the best possible use of raw materials,” noted Terry Gettys, director of R&D at Michelin. “The TREC project is a perfect example of ecodesign, and it will help us make new high-performance tyres using quality raw materials from used tires, thanks to the shared expertise of the CEA, Protéus and SDTech.”
“Since it was founded in 1998, Protéus has become a benchmark in industrial biotechnology for sustainable development,” added Juliette Martin, CEO of Protéus. “We are very pleased to be able to leverage the industrial power of the microorganisms in our collection and of the enzymes and bio-processes we’re developing to help further Michelin’s sustainable mobility strategy.”
“As an innovator in the area of micro-powders, SDTech has always been ready to contribute its knowhow to collaborative projects in France and internationally,” said Jalil Benabdillah, chairman and CEO of SDTech. “SDTech is honored to be participating in the TREC project with such a prestigious group of partners and to see its R&D expertise recognized at this level. We know that we must remain effective and consistently innovative to live up to Michelin’s expectations.”
“We are pleased to provide Michelin with our expertise in gasification processes. CEA teams have the capabilities to design, engineer and carry out thermo-chemical processes from the very beginning and with our support, Michelin will be able to validate its technological choices,” concluded Florence Lambert, director of the CEA’s Liten Institute. (Tyres & Accessories)