Tyre Stewardship announces first funded research project

Tyre Stewardship Australia's Market Development Manager Liam O'Keefe
Tyre Stewardship Australia is backing a University of Wollongong research project that investigates using material from old tyres to improve the performance of Australian train tracks.

An upgrade to larger, heavier and faster trains can result in significant construction and maintenance costs to the rail infrastructure.

A new research project by the University of Wollongong is now working towards a solution that may be found through using new materials, made largely of old tyres, which will help to improve the performance and reduce cost of the tracks.

The study is being undertaken in conjunction with industry partner Ecoflex, and was recently funded by TSA and the New South Wales Environmental Trust as part of EPA NSW’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

A new Rubber based Energy Absorbing Layer (REAL) is being studied as an environmentally-friendly alternative to the traditional compacted gravel capping layer for new tracks.

The study will look at the opportunity for this material to be used to improve track stability and, as a result, operational efficiency. It is expected to yield information that could help develop a valuable domestic market for recycled end-of-life tyre material.

The University of Wollongong research team expects to deliver research results by August 2017 and is working closely with railway engineers who are responsible for rolling out, maintaining and upgrading this vital infrastructure.

TSA Market Development Manager Liam O’Keefe said: “This is the first of many announcements that the industry can expect in the coming weeks about research projects that Tyre Stewardship Australia is supporting with funding.

“It’s absolutely essential that we build strong, resilient markets for tyre-derived products to support the recycling industry. Since launching the Tyre Stewardship Research Fund late last year, we’ve been approached about projects for the use of end-of-life tyres in infrastructure, roads, polymers and remanufacturing.

“It’s showing the value of the market development program we are rolling out,” added Liam. TSA is building momentum in using its financial resources to fund research projects that will help develop more viable long-term markets for recycled tyre product.

The first round of competitive applications for grants from the Tyre Stewardship Research Fund closed on 15 December. These are being assessed and the TSA plans to announce the recipients in the near future. Further funding rounds will be run later this year.

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