A University of Waterloo professor has been recognized for originality, innovation, and creativity in the development of his rubber devulcanization technology.
Awarded by the Polymer Processing Society (PPS), the 2018 James L. White Award was presented to Costas Tzoganakis, professor of chemical engineering, at the 34th International Conference of the Polymer Processing Society in Taipei.
It’s the second award since April for Professor Tzoganakis’ innovative rubber devulcanization technology that was invented a decade ago and the foundation for University of Waterloo startup Tyromer Inc. The technology won a gold award in the Edison Awards, a competition to recognize some of the most innovative new products, services, and business leaders worldwide. The green technology was recognized with the gold award in the Energy & Sustainability (Resource Re-Use) category. Recipients of the Edison Awards represent game-changing products and services, as well as excellence and leadership in the areas of concept, value, delivery, and impact.
Tyromer’s novel devulcanization extrusion technology uses a clean supercritical fluid method to replace conventional rubber recycling methods that rely on extensive use of toxic chemical solvents. Using this process, Tyromer is able to devulcanize (convert) scrap tire rubber into a value-added elastomeric Tire-Derived Polymer (TDP) for reuse in new tires.
Initially funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo) provided commercialization management services which included patent protection and trademark registration support. Professor Tzoganakis and WatCo worked together to secure prototype development funding, a startup loan through the Michelin Development Corporation and an Ontario investor group, and later developed a collaboration with Kitchener, Ontario based AirBoss Rubber Compounding.
Today AirBoss offers its customers a tire retread compound with 20 per cent TDP. Through a collaboration with a major automotive component manufacturer, Tyromer is constructing a TDP production facility in Windsor. Another collaboration with a major automotive component manufacturer has led to funding from the Government of Canada to extend its devulcanization technology to EPDM type rubber compounds.