Company announces backing of European tire recycling joint venture.
Global tire producer Michelin has announced its support of a Europe-based joint venture (JV) it says will “create the world’s first large-scale tire recycling group.”
The JV involves Sweden-based tire recycling technology provider Scandinavian Enviro Systems and the NextGen business unit of Paris-based private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners.
According to Michelin, “The JV plans to establish end-of-life tire recycling plants across Europe, with a total capacity to recycle up to 1 million tons of end-of-life tires annually by 2030.” The first such plant will be located in Sweden and is expected to be fully operational by 2025.
Michelin has made a series of investments in tire recycling in the past several years, including acquiring a 20 percent stake in Scandinavian Enviro Systems and the 2018 acquisition of United States-based Lehigh Technologies.
The Antin-Enviro JV will combine Enviro’s technology for the extraction of carbon black and pyrolysis oil from end-of-life tires with what Michelin calls its “leading position in sustainable tires” and Antin’s experience in developing and scaling infrastructure platforms.
The JV has secured a multiyear scrap tire supply agreement with Michelin for “the first plants established.” The agreement also includes delivery to Michelin of recovered carbon black and tire pyrolysis oil (TPO) produced by the same plants.
“Today’s announcement is a significant step in our ambition to achieve a circular and more sustainable tire production,” says Maude Portigliatti, a member of the Group Executive Committee at Michelin. “This is further proof of Michelin’s ability to step up to achieve its 2050 strategic ambitions and reduce the tire’s overall environmental impact by forging innovative partnerships for an ever more circular industry.”
Antin’s NextGen platform will be the majority owner of the JV while Enviro’s ownership stake “will ultimately correspond to approximately 30 percent,” according to Michelin. The tire producer says it is planning to partner in the JV as the plants are built in the future.
The first commercial plant will be built in Uddevalla, Sweden, with an initial capacity to recycle 34,500 tons of scrap tires annually. Michelin calls that equal to 40 percent of the annual volume of end-of-life tires in Sweden. That plant’s construction is scheduled to start in the first half of 2023 so it can be fully operational by 2025.
“Site selection in other European countries has been initiated to ensure a rapid roll-out, with an aim to build recycling capacity for up to approximately 1 million tons of end-of-life tires by 2030, corresponding to a third of all tires being disposed of in Europe each year,” Michelin says.