Starting a business - Tyromer

Canadian company Tyromer is starting a pilot plant for demonstrating recycling techniques for used car tyres at Industrial Park Kleefse Waard. We spoke to managing director Jos van Son about their start in Arnhem.

"Canada is a wonderful country, but it's far removed from the European market. As we wanted to create a real impact, we needed to get closer to the market physically. That is why the plan was created to set up this pilot plant in the Netherlands. The response from our Canadian office was clear: 'all right, get it sorted'. We started painting the walls here, purely to make things look nicer. We also created our own first little office. It feels quite special to do everything yourself. It's a childhood dream coming true!", says Jos. Here you can see Jos (second from the left) with his colleagues.

Never going back
Oost-NL helped Tyromer in finding their ideal location. Industrial Park Kleefse Waard (IPKW) emerged as the best option. "The great thing about this site is how many start-ups it harbours. A lot of the businesses at IPKW work on hydrogen or new energy solutions, and most of them are in the 'start-up' or 'scale-up' phase. That energy also brings a nice atmosphere. We do a lot of things together."

They don't just work together; Jos believes that Arnhem is also a great place for relaxing. "There are endless opportunities for cycling, dining, and there is always something on. I was raised in the megalopolis of the Randstad, but I am never going back. It's far too busy and crowded. Arnhem is a great city and the combination of the dynamic IPKW and the many innovative businesses, make it the perfect place for this pilot plant."

The question remains as to what will happen exactly when the plant is operating at full capacity. To make it a little easier: rubber is like an egg. Once it has been brought to the boil, it will stay in its solid form; it is impossible to liquefy it afterwards. Well... Impossible?

"We found a way to reverse this process and turn the material into a liquid again. We'll keep on testing, then up the production capacity and subsequently sell the concept", says Jos. Even though Tyromer occupies a huge room at IPKW, it is not their intention to recycle all the rubber there and sell it on. "By selling the concept, other businesses will gain the option to recycle their own rubber. A ready-made solution."

4 million tonnes of waste

Europe is currently producing 4 million tonnes of waste in rubber tyres every year. Four. Million. Tonnes. That's hard to comprehend. It's just being burned or left there. This has a huge impact on the environment. Rubber production also releases a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere.

"If rubber production has a CO2 impact of 100%, recycling rubber will only have a 5% impact. This is a huge saving. Currently our only experience is with recycled rubber that has only gone through 1 cycle. However, we are going to prove that it can be reused for many cycles. We think that 3 or 4 cycles is realistic, but perhaps the sky is the limit. Rubber is great because it's so robust."

The recycled rubber is no longer new and therefore it's not exactly the same as new rubber. Businesses are therefore still a little reluctant to use recycled rubber on a larger scale. "Our clients, which include car tyre manufacturers like Continental, will soon use a composition of 20% recycled and 80% new rubber for a tyre."

This has to do with a number of characteristics that are looked at, like the elasticity and yield strength of rubber. In recycled rubber these are slightly reduced. Other characteristics are improved by the recycling process however. Jos doesn't want to say too much about that but will give us a little teaser.

Innovation that benefits everyone
Another advantage that is hugely beneficial for consumers: car tyres made from recycled rubber almost certainly have a much-reduced rolling resistance, which in turn increases fuel efficiency.  "Imagine how much CO2 production we could prevent if this were applied at a large scale. This is a journey we are going to have to take, and we need to make that clear to our politicians too." Jos expects to be in full production in a year and hopes to be able to open two or three additional plants then. That way, their positive impact on the earth will only increase.

This is Arnhem
In this blog series, The Life Net and This is Arnhem like to show how attractive Arnhem is to start and establish as an entrepreneur. It spotlights various internationals or companies that attract internationals. They like to share their inspiring story about how they started and grew with their business. Would you like to know more about starting a business in Arnhem? Pay a visit to Startclub Arnhem or pose your questions to the municipality's ondernemersdesk. This is a translation.