Press release (13.07.2022)



As the first bicycle tire manufacturer in the world, Schwalbe, together with its cooperation partners, has has succeeded in developing an innovative and holistic tire recycling process.
It is an absolute world first: For almost 50 years, Schwalbe has been developing and producing high-quality bicycle tires, the right one for every cyclist. The topic of sustainability has been at the top of the list for company founder Ralf Bohle since the first tire as one of the most important properties and values - back then it was called longevity. Since then, a wide variety of teams have been working with great energy on how to recycle used bicycle tires.
After decades of research and an elaborate pilot project, Schwalbe has now achieved a major breakthrough in close cooperation with its partners. As the first bicycle tire manufacturer in the world, Schwalbe, together with recycling specialist Pyrum Innovations and the Technical University (TH) of Cologne, has developed an innovative and holistic recycling process to recycle used tires of all brands - completely without waste. This represents a quantum leap in environmental awareness and ecological responsibility.
Until now, used bicycle tires have been incinerated, losing the raw materials and emitting climate-damaging CO2. Now, new tires are created from used ones - the process saves 80% CO2. The big circle is closing.

The pyrolysis idea was born among students in a garden shed. Founder Pascal Klein developed it into a start-up that is now listed on the stock exchange and a pioneer in the pyrolysis process. Pyrum currently runs the only tire pyrolysis plant in the world that produces all year round.
„While their peers partied the night away, the students unscrewed clogged pipes, replaced heating elements or turned one of the many adjusting screws that have to be adjusted on such an industrial plant - until everything clicked into place. While his friends contributed their knowledge as engineers and chemists, it was Klein's perseverance that contributed to the success of the project.“ 
Spiegel Online, 26.06.2022

1. Preliminary: Shredding: Used tires are shredded and separated in four stages. Results: Rubber granules, textile fiber and steel.
2. Pyrolysis: rubber granules are put into the pyrolysis oven at 700° in the absence of oxygen. Results:
Gas: supplies the entire pyrolysis plant with electricity (runs completely self-sufficiently) Oil: goes to BASF and is used, for example, in textile fibers Pyrolysis coke: further processed into RCB (recovered carbon black) and reused in new Schwalbe products

„Recycling not at any price - we are only satisfied with the result when the quality of the recycled materials meets the necessary level with which we can produce Schwalbe quality again. That's why we're researching so intensively with the team from TH Köln and Sebastian Bogdahn," says Holger Jahn, Schwalbe's COO. "The vCB, which is important for tire production, is to be completely replaced by rCB in the future.
Recycled materials are not always of the same quality as their original materials. However, this is a must for the success of the project to produce new bicycle tires from used ones. This is something that is being worked on and researched very hard. The tire on the bike is a safety-relevant component and the only point of contact between rider:in and the ground.
Especially with much higher load demands on bicycle tires today, Schwalbe quality and performance must be the same. Prof. Dr. Malek and Sebastian Bogdan's team are proactively involved in the development of the bicycle tire recycling process to produce high-quality rCB from the rubber granulate of used tires by means of pyrolysis. In her material studies, Prof. Dr. Katrakova-Krüger is investigating whether and how it is possible to produce high-quality bicycle tires again using rCB in the appropriate rubber compound. For her research she has already received the transfer award of the TH Cologne for the research project on bicycle tire recycling. The cooperation with Pyrum and all her previous experiences in the field of pyrolysis are an important point for the next development steps.
As a family business, we have believed in this for decades, demonstrated staying power and invested heavily in the project, research and personnel. We have big plans and, as pioneers, want to take dealers and customers with us with our innovative recycling solutions. sagt Firmengründer Frank Bohle.

Further information

Schwalbe UK LTD
Press Office
Hortonwood 30 | Shropshire TF1 7ET Telford 
Phone: +441952602680 |

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