What Tires Have to Do with Alcohol, Powder & Butterflies

Michelin is driving a new tire recycling project called TREC (which stands for tire recycling but makes me think of T-Rex). The project has two parts: TREC Regeneration and TREC Alcohol.

TREC Regeneration

In collaboration with SDTech (a company that specializes in micronization) and Protéus (a biotechnology firm), Michelin is using creating a micropowder out of used tires that can in turn be used as an ingredient for new high-performance Michelin tires. From dust to… driving again. Amazing!

TREC Alcohol

I certainly wouldn’t want to drink anything that was made from tires. Which is just as well because it’s not that kind of alcohol. Again with Protéus as well as France’s Commission on Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA), Michelin is developing a way to turn used tires until alcohol through gasification and fermentation. I have no idea what all that entails, but the alcohol produced will be used in a project called BioButterfly that is working to produce butadiene—a chemical used in the production of synthetic rubber—using used and renewable sources.

Even though I’m a big science nerd, it’s enough to make my head spin (but you can always read the press release for more information). I do think it’s great that Michelin not only makes great Michelin tires but is also figuring out ways to turn old tires into new tires, though.

So let’s see. We have sugar tires, soy tires, and now powder and alcohol tires. What will they make tires out of next?