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TSA partners with Fulton Hogan on crumb rubber blending plant

Equipment specifically designed for blending crumbed rubber and bitumen has been installed and commissioned for the first time in Australia by Fulton Hogan, in partnership with Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA).

According to Fulton Hogan Northern Region General Manager Richard Pearson, Queensland roads built using the open, dense and gap-graded crumb rubber asphalt produced at the new plant will be more durable, longer lasting, quieter and safer than roads paved with conventional asphalt.

“Crumb rubber modified bitumen used as a binder for asphalt mixes for community roads is a tangible contribution to the environment through recycling used-tyres, and a lower life-cycle cost of the resulting road pavement,” he said.

“It’s about taking a waste stream – in this instance used tyres – through to an environmentally beneficial product to build infrastructure of critical value.”

The new blending plant, located at Fulton Hogan’s Geebung emulsion manufacturing plant in Brisbane, is the first in Australia to use the equipment.

The newly completed design includes the fabrication and installation of a static 25tph bitumen rubber blending plant, which will use the existing bitumen tanks to supply the super-heated bitumen to the rubber blending plant.

“Although more than half of Australia’s old tyres are recycled, upcycled or processed to make other products, like crumb rubber in roads, the equivalent of 27 million car tyres are wasted every year,” TSA CEO Lina Goodman said.

Goodman added that when fully operational, Fulton Hogan’s plant is expected to blend 500 tonnes of crumb rubber every year, equating to more than 83,000 end-of-use tyres.

“This will be the first time this world leading specific plant equipment from the US has been used in Australia,” she said.

“Other plants currently in use are predominantly polymer blending plants adapted to blend crumb rubber. This Australia-first initiative is such an exciting one for TSA to be involved with.”

Tyre wastes were reported to be the most common litter or illegally dumped waste in Queensland, according to the most recent data from local councils. And according to TSA data, Queensland generated more than 102,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres in 2018-19.

Goodman explained that the data highlights the opportunities available for development of local tyre processing/recycling facilities and signifies the importance of recycling from both environmental and local business growth perspectives.

“As a material derived from end-of-life tyres, crumb rubber boasts a number of environmental benefits as a recycled product – benefits that are being realised across the Australian roads and infrastructure sector,” she said.

“Finding innovative and sustainable ways of using old tyres is vital and crumb rubber asphalt roads are the perfect solution to a waste problem.”

TSA has contributed $150,000 to the project.

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