On April 15, SK Energy and SK Networks announced that they will collaborate with Daeho Industries, Korea's leading retread tyre manufacturer, to develop a low-carbon circular system that utilizes scrap tyres.

According to the agreement, the three parties will analyze the viability of the pyrolysis process that produces recovered carbon black and pyrolysis oil, as well as the measures to strengthen the collection and delivery system of waste tyres in South Korea.

South Korea currently receives about 380,000 tons of waste tyres (about 30 million tyres) each year, the majority of which are processed as industrial solid-state fuel, while others are burnt and retreaded tyres.

Natural rubber, on the other hand, is recognized as a biogenic resource and is one of the key elements in waste tyres. This means that businesses can add value by developing environmentally friendly products using the key material reclaimed from scrap tyres. Given the global trend of encouraging the use of environmentally friendly energy sources, recycled fuel oil made from discarded tyres is one of the numerous options.

The three companies will assess the feasibility of establishing and operating a pyrolysis oil plant in light of the circular economy's potential for expansion by utilizing discarded tyres. They also intend to investigate a number of alternative options for utilizing the pyrolysis oil and recovered Carbon Black (rCB) created by pyrolyzing discarded tyres.

By refining the pyrolysis oil, SK Energy will primarily focus on ways to manufacture diverse products, such as environmentally friendly naphtha and air fuel. Daeho Industries will be in charge of creating various strategies to make use of the rCB, which is in high demand both within and outside of the country. SK Networks will also supply waste tyres to the pyrolysis industry via roughly 650 SpeedMate business sites, the company's comprehensive car-care service brand.

"I am glad to discuss strategies to create a circular economy in Korea for recycling waste tyres with Daeho Industries, the country's biggest recapped tire firm," said Hong Jeong-eui, SK Energy's Head of Net Zero Office. "I expect that this business collaboration will provide an opportunity to obtain business opportunities for pyrolysis oil from scrap tyres and environmentally beneficial products," he added. I also hope that we will be able to help SK achieve its Net Zero objective."

"Up until now, tyre recycling simply meant cutting them into small bits or deforming them and using them for other purposes," said Chang Young-wook, Head of SpeedMate Business, SK Networks. But now I'm looking forward to growing tyre resource recycling and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Furthermore, Park Jong-hyuk, President of Daeho Industries, stated, "Once we construct a virtuous cycle of resources such as rCB and pyrolysis oil obtained by pyrolyzing waste tyres, we anticipate to be able to achieve ESG management through creating social value and developing the low-carbon society."