a European project for recycling end-of-life tyres into new tyres

15 septembre 2020-

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Coordinated by Michelin and with 13 partners, including Aliapur, the aim of the BlackCycle project is to set up a massive circular economy making it possible to produce new tyres from end-of-life tyres. It has a budget of 16 million euros.


The BlackCycle project is coordinated by Michelin, and Aliapur is one of the stakeholders. It brings together seven industrial partners, five research and technology organisations (RTO) and one innovation pole, within a European consortium present in five countries. The aim of this project is to set up a circular economy for tyres, designing one of the first processes for producing new tyres from end-of-life tyres.

Officially funded by the European Union, the BlackCycle project has just been launched. It involves 13 organisations (1) within an unprecedented public-private European partnership that will demonstrate the technical, environmental, and economic viability of the first circular processes in the world.

The consortium will develop specific solutions for producing sustainable raw materials for tyres: collecting end-of-life tyres and selecting the raw material, optimising pyrolysis (2), refining and recycling the oil, optimising the furnace processes, and evaluating the performances of the sustainable tyres produced.

The aim of the project is for almost 50% of European end-of-life tyres to be incorporated into this virtuous circle within five or six years, making BlackCycle the only project of this scale, in any industrial sector, in the field of recycling end-of-life products.

BlackCycle is funded by the Horizon 2020 programme and has an overall budget of around 16 million euros and European funding of around 12 million euros (75% of the costs of the project). Almost 35% of funding of the project will be allocated to SMEs, and 15% to research and technology organisations (RTO); 34% corresponds to personnel costs. The consortium is based in five European countries (France, Spain, Germany, Greece, and Switzerland) and is composed of seven industrial partners, 5 research and technology organisations (RTO) and one innovation pole. It is coordinated by Michelin and has an effective governance system with a steering committee, a commission for the synergy of the pole, and a technical support committee.

The aim of a circular economy for tyres for the whole of Europe

Every year, 1.6 billion new tyres are sold around the world. This represents 26 million tonnes. The same quantity moves into the category of end-of-life tyres every year, promising great potential for recycling materials, an area that is only partially taken advantage of. Current procedures for processing end-of-life tyres are not circular and do not produce reusable raw materials for the tyre industry.

The BlackCycle project aims to create, develop, and optimise a complete sector ranging from end-of-life tyres to secondary raw materials (SRM), without wasting resources at any stage and while paying particular attention to the environmental impact. These SRM will be used to develop new ranges of tyres for trucks and passenger vehicles which will be marketed in Europe and the rest of the world.

As a result, the BlackCycle sector will have a lower carbon footprint as it will use fewer fossil resources per kg of end-of-life tyre (0.89 kg fewer). By providing a viable alternative at the economic and environmental level, BlackCycle will reduce the export of end-of-life tyres. Relocalising management of end-of-life tyres and their transformation within the EU should create sustainable jobs in the European Union.

(1) France: Michelin, Aliapur, Axelera, Ineris - Germany: Orion Engineered Carbons, Pyrum Innovations, Estato Umweltservice GmbH - Greece: Chemical Process & Energy Resources Institute - Spain: CSIC, Sisener Ingenieros, Hera Holding, Fundacion Icamcyl - Switzerland: Quantis International.

(2) The pyrolysis process is used to depolymerise organic products and obtain new raw materials for other processes.