Pneumatic tires, the rubbers that adorn virtually every car, have proven to be extremely problematic to recycle. Apart from playground flooring, rubberized mulch, running tracks and footwear, finding feasible ways to reuse or earth-friendly methods to dispose of spent tires has been difficult. There's hopeful news on the horizon, though, since, a scientist at the University of Basque Country in Spain has discovered a process that transforms discarded tires into fuel.

Chemist María Felisa Laresgoiti used pyrolisis, a method of heating a substance in the absence of oxygen, and found that when subjected to temperatures above 500°C for 30 minutes, tires decompose into reusable materials. The decomposition of the tire yields 40 percent liquids, 16 percent gases and 44 percent unaltered solids. The pyrolisis-derived liquids are characterized by their similarity to various forms of petroleum and could possibly be used as an alternative to some fossil fuels. It's thought that the liquid substance could be combined with conventional diesel fuel to power commercial vehicles, but additional testing will be required before a final determination is made. So, the next time someone tells you to "light em up," think about the potential fuel that's billowing away as stench-filled smoke.


Photo by Drew Phillips /
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[Source: Gizmag]


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