The old adage is true that everything is bigger in Texas. And now, so is tire recycling. Genan, the world’s leading tire recycling company, recently unveiled its $140 million state-of-the-art plant in northeast Houston earlier this month with plans to recycle 10 million tires each year. The 40-acre plant, the largest of its kind in the world, will employ 60 workers and divert nearly one-third of all used tires in Texas from landfills.
Genan currently operates four plants throughout Europe that recycle about 7 million tires each year. The company extracts and produces rubber granulate, rubber powder and steel from scrap tires for re-sale as synthetic turf installations, playgrounds and recreational facilities, sports tracks and grounds, asphalt roads, building products, flooring, injection molded products, industrial applications, noise insulation, and many other purposes and applications.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. generates about 290 million scrap tires each year. Roughly 45 percent are used as fuel, 20 percent are used in civil engineering projects, and 30 percent are converted into ground rubber and recycled into products. Genan’s Houston facility will serve as the company’s U.S. headquarters as the company seeks to expand its operations to include four sales and distribution plants across the U.S. in the future to capture 10 percent of the American recycled tire market.
Lars Raahauge, Genan’s Director of Business Development, said:
“We are currently performing due diligence on a number of states across the country. Exact locations will depend on the long-term reliability of available tire supplies as well as a business setting, community support, and a legislative and regulatory approach that is compatible with Genan’s environmentally and climate friendly tire recycling concept.”
Construction on the Genan Houston building kicked off two years ago with the decision to place the factory in Houston due to the positive business climate, proximity and access to the second largest business port in the U.S., and the 39 percent energy reduction costs compared to its Denmark facilities.
The plant currently processes tires by removing the rubber, steel and textile materials that comprise the tire. The steel is sold to scrap companies, and the “near-virgin” rubber is used in asphalt products. Textile materials are burned and converted into energy. Genan’s products have been utilized at the last two NFL Super Bowls and are currently in use across the country at a number of professional and college football facilities including the University of Texas at Austin and the New Orleans Saints turfs.
Within 24 months, the plant will be expanded to produce a line of very fine cryogenic rubber powder and a technologically unique devulcanization line for the production of rubber, which will be able to substitute virgin rubber compounds.
Image credit: GST HBK, via Wikimedia Commons