Big ideas in tiny technology
wheeled out for waste tyres

SMALL is certainly beautiful when it comes to turning old tyres into tough building materials.

More than a dozen jobs have been created at a recycling plant in Barnsley, which is built around the science of nanotechnology, which involves engineering on a microscopic scale.

Iona Capital, an investor which focuses on ‘green’ companies, has completed an investment in a company called Gradena.

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The EU Landfill Directive banned tyres from being sent to landfill from July 2003, and this was later extended to cover shredded tyres in July 2006.

With this ban in place, Iona Capital is helping to develop new facilities for the re-use and recycling of waste tyres.

Gradena is a joint venture between Gradsol and Dena Technology, which provides nanotechnology services. Dena is active in a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals and rubber recycling.

Gradena will manufacture wood replacement goods from waste tyres and recycled uPVC, using a process known as nano surface intensification.

Gradsol is a management consultancy which specialises in “environmentally-friendly” companies, particularly in the waste sector. A spokesman said: “Iona’s investment is an important step in supporting tyre recycling technology that creates no harmful emissions and recycles all by-products.”

Gradena is planning to process around 1,200 tonnes of waste tyres in the first year.

The products can be moulded and cut into a wide range of shapes. The wood replacement product is tough enough to cope with the heat, cold and damp.

At the end of their life cycle, all the Gradena products can be recycled.

Nick Ross, a director of Iona Capital, said: “Iona is fully committed to providing funding for the development of environmental projects which help to achieve the zero waste to landfill target. This project is an excellent example of supporting leading edge technology and producing value added products which overcome the growing issue of waste tyres.”

Robert Paley, the finance director at Gradsol, said: “This project achieves not only strong financial performance but also delivers significant environmental benefits.

“The main selling point of the end products is that they are much more durable than their traditional counterparts, and they provide considerable additional commercial benefits. The efficient use of recycled tyres and uPVC not only reduces waste volumes; these wastes can be used to produce recyclable, new products.”

More jobs are expected to be created when the plant expands next year.