RJ Lee Group Receives Grant to Implement Depolymerization Process for Greene County Tire Pile


PITTSBURGH – RJ Lee Group has been awarded a $250,000 grant to perform a study on tires that will be removed from the Kiger tire pile in Perry Township in Greene County, PA. Here, significant numbers of scrap tires are currently being stored. The Kiger grant will help to define the quality of the end products produced by a recycling process of aged tires. This DEPolymerization™ process extracts carbon black, fuel oil and gas from scrap tires.

Tire piles present many environmental issues. The piles are a ground water contamination and fire hazard; they provide ideal insect breeding grounds; and they are aesthetically unpleasing and a burden to taxpayers. In 1996, Pennsylvania enacted legislation (1) to manage disposal of waste tires and encourage their recycling. Greene County Industrial Development (GCID) applied for a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) to demonstrate the use of RJ Lee Group’s DEPolymerization™ technology in processing and disposing of ‘aged tires’. Aged tires represent tires that have been present in a tire pile for an extended period of time in various environments: tires that are buried underground, tires under water, and tires exposed to sunlight and ambient conditions. Aged tires change chemically and physically over time, and this rate of change depends on the environmental conditions to which they are exposed. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the use of ‘aged tires’ in DEPolymerization™. When successful, this study will have proven that depolymerizing aged tires is both economically and environmentally advantageous.

Although RJ Lee Group has demonstrated success in depolymerizing “fresh” scrap tires, effective use of ‘aged tires’ in the DEPolymerization™ process has not yet been demonstrated. This project will evaluate the ability of the DEPolymerization™ system to process aged tires in varying stages of degradation. The demonstration is composed of several tasks: 1) removal of a subset of aged tires from the Kiger tire pile; 2) process the tires (e.g. clean, ship, shred the tires to acceptable size range, and DEPolymerization™ of tire shreds); 3) evaluation and characterization of the aged tires prior to DEPolymerization™; 4) evaluation of the quality and quantity of end products (DE carbon black) and by-products (oil and gas) produced; and 5) develop a cost model for processing tires from an aged tire pile. By performing this study, RJ Lee Group will gather valuable information about depolymerizing aged tires to compare with prior results attained using newly scrapped tires. This study will also leave the Kiger tire pile in better condition than it was beforehand by removing a number of old tires from the site.

Representative Bill DeWeese (D) of Greene County has been instrumental in arranging for this grant.  He is also working with RJ Lee Groupto bring a DEPolymerization™ plant to western Pennsylvania.  Previously, Representative DeWeese has teamed with RJ Lee Groupto create approximately 35 new jobs at its new facility at EverGreene Technology Park in Waynesburg, PA. It is anticipated that a tire DEPolymerization™ plant in Greene County would employ about 40 people.

1 ACT 1996-190, Waste Tire Recycling Act, “Relating to the recycling and reuse of waste tires; providing for the proper disposal of waste tires and the cleanup of stockpiled tires”.

Leave a comment