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Tyre repurposing tech floated for waste issues

An image of Dan Nienhauser

DAN NIENHAUSER Stellar3 uses a thermochemical conversion application to break down commercial waste, converting it into valuable energy assets

1st March 2024

By: Lumkile Nkomfe

Creamer Media Reporter

     

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Waste recycling and reuse plant developer Stellar3 reports that end-of-life mining vehicle tyres can pose significant challenges for the mining industry, as tyres are used for a lot of mining equipment, thereby making it important to embrace technology as a way of reaching sustainable solutions to address such commercial waste problems.

Stellar3 CEO Dan Nienhauser reflects on the significant challenge of addressing commercial waste problems by proposing to design, build and operate plants that convert commercial waste into useful fuels and electricity.

“The challenge is how do entities dispose of the waste that they create, and so we have developed a distributed system that can chemically break down those waste components and turn them into new raw materials or into energy that can be substituted for other energy that’s . . . being used.”

Stellar3 uses a thermochemical conversion application to break down commercial waste, converting it into valuable energy assets.

The company says its thermal conversion application is highly efficient, as it uses thermal oxidisers and other cyclone techniques to clean gases. The application’s ability to remove toxins from a product is “significant”, with toxins captured in a ceramic filter that can be cleaned and replaced on a monthly basis.

“The [application involves] heating something in an environment without oxygen. It takes a solid and turns it into a liquid, and then the liquid into a gas.”

Nienhauser notes that pyrolytic oils can be distilled into a blend-ready diesel, replacing the diesel currently being used for mining equipment.

“You’re generating a blend-ready diesel product at the location, as opposed to having the carbon footprint of generating diesel [at other locations], which is significant for a remote location in Africa where there are no refineries.”

Stellar3 is developing its first commercial plant at an estimated cost of $20-million, which will be completed midyear in South Africa. It will transform end-of-life tyres into blend-ready diesel and carbon black.

Nienhauser is dismayed at current efforts to transform waste worldwide: “We’ve done a terrible job of managing waste. Today, we’re only recycling 10% or less in plastics as an example, when we should be recycling 80% or more . . . As [the] . . . world, we need to invest a trillion dollars a year in research and new infrastructure to address the waste challenge.”

Using recycling, reuse and repurposing technologies in the mining industry can reduce the carbon footprint and promote circularity.

Nienhauser also notes the importance of working with solutions-orientated engineers at Stellar3 and expects a rapid growth curve for the company in the next five years.

The future lies in the mining industry’s being able to generate its own energy as a part of its waste management, he concludes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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