T-Phinte, a fervent Chilean startup based in Valparaíso, has just unveiled its method for recycling used tires and turning them into battery components. As a fact, a tire takes between 500 and 1000 years to decompose and, each season, approximately 29 million tons of tires reach the end of their useful life and are discarded, forming mountains of used wheels, an image that we all have in our minds. mind… This represents, as you can imagine, an important environmental problem. Without forgetting all the waste that arises in the recycling process.
As we are telling you, T-Phinte has led an innovative project that uses carbon black, a byproduct of tire recycling, for the production of graphite. Be careful, carbon black is the material produced by the incomplete combustion of petroleum products.
The graphite obtained, in turn, becomes an essential component used in lithium-ion batteries, playing a fundamental role in their anodes. This revolutionary initiative not only facilitates the complete reuse of tires, but also contributes to the creation of batteries for electric vehicles, effectively reducing the carbon footprint.
This is how T-Phinte obtains graphite from tires
Now, how is this graphite obtained? Today, tires contain carbon black, a petroleum byproduct that is used to improve durability and give tires their characteristic black color. Through a process known as pyrolysis, tires decompose, releasing dark smoke containing carbon black. By capturing these emissions, valuable hard graphitic carbon is obtained, which becomes the essential raw material for the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.
T-Phinte claims to have successfully validated this graphite in button cells and 18650 type batteries, which are those used by Tesla. It is evident that, over the years, the demand for electric vehicles continues to increase, especially with the European Union’s plan to ban the sale of cars with internal combustion engines by 2025.
As demand for electric vehicles grows, so does demand for lithium-ion batteries and therefore the need to increase graphite production. As a fact, electric cars require between 50 and 100 kg of graphite for their batteries, which represents double the amount of lithium needed. For this reason, this project is presented as a promising solution, since it seeks to satisfy 35% of the demand for graphite by 2035 through the recycling of discarded tires. Which, by the way, there is plenty of.
This initiative not only significantly reduces pollution by giving a new use to a polluting element, thus preventing it from affecting the environment, but also promotes electric mobility by contributing to the production of batteries. However, these advantages are not the only ones.
Graphite is traditionally obtained through mining processes, an activity that consumes a large amount of resources, energy and has a high environmental impact. By obtaining graphite from tires, the need to extract it from the earth is reduced, which in turn contributes to reducing pollution on our planet.