Process gets rolling overseas

While America is limping along trying to find a solution to the used-tire problem, Japan and England are going full steam ahead.

In Japan, Sumitomo Cement, a subsidiary of Kobe Steel, and a local government have cooperated in running a pyrolysis plant since October of 1979.

The plant processes 7,000 tons of used tires per year, producing 2,100 tons of carbon black, 2,800 tons of fuel oil, and 350 tons of cteel. Part of the gas produced fuels the process, while the fuel oil and remaining gas are used for making cement. The carbon is purified and used ''in various applications,'' a spokesMan for the Kobe Steel company says.

* In Britain, Tyrolysis Ltd., a newly formed company partly subsidized by Britain's Department of Industry and the European Community, will be operating a plant that it says is the first commercial-scale tire pyrolysis plant in the world. Company representatives say the plant should be in operation in 1984.

It should process 50,000 tons of used tires a year, which will yield 20,000 tons of light fuel oil, 17,000 tons of carbonacious char, and 7,000 tons of steel.

* West Germany also has a plant in operation.

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