Oxygen enrichment and cryogenics for rubber recycling

By S Kulkarni, Air Products South Africa


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Published in:

Electricity+Control, April 2013 (pages 60 – 61)

Enquiries: Sachin Kulkarni. Tel: 011 977 6430 or 011 977 6459


Oxygen enrichment evolved when cement producers sought alternative fuels to the expendable and non-renewable natural resources, such as coke and coal, for use in cement kilns. They researched many options, such as waste fuel and solvents. However, the noxious fumes derived when heating these substances, using traditional methods, in the kilns was considered detrimental to the environment and humans. Ultimately, the dilemma is one of energy versus emissions.

In addition to oxygen enrichment for cement kilns, there is a large market for the implementation of cryogenic recycling of rubber. In the late 1970s there was a global move to partially replace pure rubber with approximately 1,5% latex rubber in products. This initiative was one of the early motivators to consider the effects that industry has on the environment, and to find alternatives to the use of non-renewable resources.


Take note

  • Overall combustion is improved by the addition of pure oxygen into the process.
  • Optimised design in oxygen enrichment burner systems allows for maximised process output.
  • Oxygen enrichment plays a critical role in the cryogenic processing of recycled rubber.