My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Car Tyres and Plastics from Riverton City dump can make Diesel and Gasoline

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Car Tyres and Plastics from Riverton City dump can make Diesel and Gasoline

“Jamaica needs an End of Life policy as it relates to the disposal of discarded Tyres and derelict motor vehicles”

Director of the NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) Jennifer Edwards commenting on the Riverton City Dump fire on Sunday March 16th 2014 in an interview with the Jamaica Observer Auto

On Sunday March 16th 2014, the unthinkable happened. On that day I awoke to see a billowing ball of smoke just to the east of where I live in Swallowfield. At first glance, having just awoken at about 7am that Sunday, I thought it was a massive Rain Cloud.

But after squinting in the sunlight a bit, I realized that the rapid pace at which the Cloud seemed to be expanding looked more like a volcanic eruption than a rain Cloud. Then it struck me; it must be a Fire at the Riverton City Dump along Spanish Town Road leaving Kingston and close to Duhaney Park where I use to live year ago. It was a massive one too, judging by the height of the Cloud and the speed at which it was rising!

It wasn’t until later in the morning at around 10am when I finally got access to the Internet that I realized that it was the Riverton City Dump on fire based on these eye-witness photos as reported in “PHOTOS: Riverton City Landfill fire”, published Sunday, March 16, 2014 7:34 PM, The Jamaica Observer and “YOUR PHOTOS: Riverton Landfill On Fire”, Published Sunday March 16, 2014 12:19 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Worse, the billowing black smoke wasn’t just the dump, but Tyres stored on the Riverton City Dump that were the cause of the awful black smoke. That smoke is mostly Oil and Sulphur, meaning that Kingston and St. Andrew will be receiving showers of Acid Rain for the next few days! So don’t drink the rainwater or let in splash into your eyes or open cuts, as it’s Toxic Acid Rain! 

Making this fire one of the worst ecological Disasters in terms of release of Toxins such as Sulphur, Chemicals used to stabilize the Rubber in the Plastic, Steel and Oil components as I’ve concluded from “Old Tyres, the burning issue”, published Friday, March 21, 2014 BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor, The Jamaica Observer.

The Growing Tyre Dilemma – Arsonists attempt to extract Steel from Tyres cause ecological Disaster

Based on Director of the NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) Jennifer Edwards comments as shown above, what’s needed is an End of Life Policy for the Tyres. They cannot be burnt but as they are beyond the point where they can be retreaded into new Tyres they have to be disposed of.

Consequently they end up being stored at the Riverton City Dump, as the NSWMA cannot convert them to compost as noted in my blog article entitledNSWMA can benefit from coming Lithium Demand from All-Electric Vehicle - The Beverly Hillbillies go Electric”. The previous Director of the NSWMA Joan Gordon-Webley, had apparently met with representatives from DSC Global in 2009 concerning the sale of the Tyres, but nothing has come of it since.

But with so much land area to police, preventing people from milling about in the Garbage looking for scrap metal, items of value that they can repair and use or even food is difficult. To this end, the Tyres become easy targets for thieves and even arsonists, who presumably set fire to the large and growing cache of Tyres in order to extract the Steel from the Tyres, as that’s valuable to those involved in the Scrap Metal Trade.

Extracting Valuable Materials from Tyres – Solar Powered Vacuum Pyrolysis to the Rescue

Thus a ways has to be found to Recycle the Spare Tyres or extract from them their components for reuse in making other products, as another Fire of this nature may occur once again. It also has to be a Jamaican solution, as we cannot depend on foreigners to come to help us deal with our own waste.

The Recycling initiatives that Americans and Canadians companies should have started as described in my Geezam blog article entitled “How American and Canadian investors Plan to make money from the US$10 million Trade in Plastics and other Recyclables in Jamaica” have yet to begin or even make an impact. Clearly financial viability is the main issue.

Especially as they may be looking for ways to make money from our situation and collecting Tyres may not be economically viable in the long run, as many Jamaicans may be finding ways to make them last longer.

The GOJ (Government of Jamaica), specifically the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change has responded to the persistent problem of PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Bottles and the lack of foreign help with their own initiative.

Dubbed the Recycle Now Jamaica Project, the JA$200 million Recycling initiative is a partnership between the GOJ as well as the main companies in Jamaica responsible for and using Plastic Bottles in the first place to collect and recycle PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Bottles as noted in my blog article entitled “GOJ launches JA$200 million Recycle Now Jamaica Project to Recycle PETE Plastic Waste - JEEP finally get self-sustaining Engine in small Step towards Telecom Providers Recycling Electronic Waste”.

The GOJ merely needs to extend the Recycle Now Jamaica Project, as its name suggests more and its scope right now is a bit too limited to Plastics. It should instead encompass Tyres, as the companies that bring Tyres into Jamaica need to take responsibility for Recycling their Tyres that they’ve imported.

This is the End of Life Cycle Policy that Director of the NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) Jennifer Edwards is alluding. Rather than create a new Law, merely extend the current Recycle Now Jamaica Project to include those items as listed in my blog article entitled “Panther Corporation of Canada sets up solar Powered Recycling Center - Investing in The Apparition of Jamaica's Waste Management Problem”:

1.      HDPE Plastic
2.      PETE Plastic
3.      Paper
4.      Styrofoam
5.      Rubber Tyres
6.      Wood chips and Wood
7.      Bamboo
8.      Rare Earth Metal from RDA (Residue Disposal Area)
9.      Organic Waste i.e. food
10.  Sewage
11.  Water
12.  Rainwater
13.  Oxalate from Process at Bauxite Companies e.g. JAMALCO and Ewarton
14.  Cooking Oil
15.  Electronic Waste
16.  Printer Cartridges

Already most of the above are being recycled in some way or the other:

1.      Red Mud from the RDA (Residue Disposal Area), for which a Pilot Plant has been built to extract Rare Earth Metals from the Red Mud as noted in my blog article entitled “No news on progress of the Rare Earth Pilot Plant at JBI - Cuba-Jamaica CFL Project Heralds manufacturing of LED's, Li-Ion Batteries and Sapphire Screens in Jamaica”.
2.      Cooking Oil Recycling Initiative led by Dr. Michael Coley of the University of the West Indies as described in my blog article entitled “UWI and YCWJ team up to Recycle Waste Cooking Oil - Yendi Phillipps on How to make National Bio-Diesel Production from Waste Cooking Oil Insidious Chapter 2”.
3.      Incandescent Light Bulbs as well as Fluorescent Light Bulbs as we transition towards LED (Light Emitting Diode) Light Bulbs as described in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell revives Cuban Light Bulb Program - How to Ban Incandescent Bulbs and focus on production of LED Bulbs in Jamaica”.

I’d also suggested that it should be extended to the Telecom Providers as relates to forming a GOJ partnership to collect and recycle their Electronic Waste in terms of cellphones, modems and all it components. Cellphones and modems are not only made of plastic, but more valuable Rare Earth Metals in the Battery and Circuit Board components.

Ditto too for Telecom Providers Worldwide in developing a Network of ground-based Lasers to shoot dead Satellites from orbit before the damage other working Satellites or land on the Earth as explained in my blog article entitled “Australian Government and NASA planning to Search and Destroy Asteroids and Space Debris - Space Junk and Asteroid spotting is a Non-Stop Global Initiative that Telecom Providers need to get involved”. But that’s another story for another blog!

No safe means exists to recycle them except Pyrolysis. Enter Solar Vacuum Pyrolysis as described in my blog article entitled “How to upgrade your Solar Desalinator to a Solar Cooker and make a Solar Foundry for Vacuum Pyrolysis”. Best of all, Pyrolysis can result in the production of Diesel and Gasoline fuel, thus resulting in a reduction of Jamaica’s Fuel Bill!

Extracting Valuable Materials from Tyres – Solar Powered Vacuum Pyrolysis to the Rescue

Those on the list that are not currently being actively recycled are probably not being done as they are not waste available in commercially viable quantities.

Old Tyres can be made into byproducts that are constitute their main chemical makeup, that being rubber, being made into other physical forms, once masticated:

1.      Asphalt
2.      Rubber tiles
3.      Adhesives
4.      Astraturf
5.      Carpet underlay
6.      Use as insulation in anechoic chambers
7.      Artificial reefs
8.      Children play areas
9.      Car Mats

Director of the NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) Jennifer Edwards indicated they'd begun the search for someone to purchase the Tyres last year but to no avail, quote: “The discussions had started in September or October last year. They are Jamaicans living in the United States... Nothing was finalized, but their lawyers and ours were in dialogue”.

This means that we have to something about it ourselves. The first step is mastication of the Tyres. They need to be mechanically crushed and minced in a machine that reduced their physical shape from that of a Tyre to crumbs that can be more easily stored, machines for which we can design by modifying a typical grass cutter but with sharper blades. This would make storing the Rubber Tyres easier as they'd be in a form that takes up less space and could be placed underground.

The next thing that could be done at that point is to use Solar Powered Vacuum Pyrolysis to basically decompose the Tyres to their base constituents as described in my blog article entitled “How to upgrade your Solar Desalinator to a Solar Cooker and make a Solar Foundry for Vacuum Pyrolysis”.

Using this technique, a very large Vacuum chamber can be built to decompose the Tyres. This is again technology we as Jamaicans can design and build. Old Tyres can then be reduced under Vacuum, back to base constituents, mostly long chain hydrocarbons and Steel.

Via this method, the valuable Steel can be extracted in molten form, with the evaporated long chain Hydrocarbons consisting of an Oleum made up mostly of Sulphur and Diesel!


According to the Youtube channel PyrolysisofTyres, the decomposition of Tyres produces the following constituents:

1.      50% Oil
2.      30% Activated Charcoal
3.      10% steel
4.      9% Methane Gas
5.      1% water vapour


What this effectively means is that the Vacuum Pyrolysis of Tyres not only yields Diesel Oil (the heaviest Oil made of long chain Hydrocarbons) but it also produced Methane Gas. This can be siphoned off and filtered to remove water vapour and thus be made into fuel.

This Gas can be then bottled and use for other purposes or fed back into the process to heat the Pyrolysis Plant along with Solar power. However, the Solar Energy from Sunlight concentrated from large window-frame sized Fresnel Lens would be more than sufficient to do so.

Even more interesting is that PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Bottles can also be vacuum pyrolysed to produce Diesel Oil as well as shown in the series of videos below for YouTube Channel Sascha Ljubisic. According to them, at temperatures in a vacuum as low as 400 Celcius with a Gas Burner and 15 kg of plastic, they got the following yield:

1.      16 Liters Diesel
2.      3 kg of grease


The grease is most likely plasticizers used to stabilize the long chain hydrocarbons of Polyethylene into PETE and HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) and can be resold or reused in some other way. As I’ve pointed out, these temperatures can be easily achieve using a Fresnel Lens, which according to YouTube Channel GreenPowerScience that’s capable of temperatures in excess of 2000 Celcius, enough to melt most metals and even rocks! 


So armed with these YouTube Channels, it’s possible to make a Fresnel Lens based Solar Pyrolysis Kiln to decomposes PETE, HDPE and even Rubber Tyres into Diesel Oil. The main problems you’ll face is figuring out a way to control the Temperature and pressure inside of the Vacuum Chamber, as it doesn’t have to be very high, as most of this process of decomposing Hydrocarbons will occur at 400 Celcius.

Once decomposed, with the use of a Xylem Filter as described in my blog article entitled “MIT Researchers use White Pine Tree Branches as effective Water Filter - How to make Potable Water using a Xylem Filter”, you can then strain and then filter the cooled Oil to produce Gasoline, as filtration with any nano-filter will remove the heavier fractions of Oil, resulting in Gasoline passing through over a period of days.

Alternately, you can also use a Centrifuge made from Large Glass Buckets, melted and molded using the Fresnel Lens, to separate the Diesel Oil into layers, the lighter layer being Gasoline and Kerosene. That procedure of melting Glass and forming into other shapes I’ll explain in another article!

Here’s the YouTube Channel links mentioned above:

FenceKid on DIY for Fresnel Lens Setup
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