DETROIT-A tire pyrolysis company has developed and patented an asphalt modification technology which, it claims, both improves the performance of asphalt and could meet the tire recycling mandate of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. Adding ``ATR-33,'' a refined version of the carbon black and oil produced by pyrolysis, to asphalt improves the paving material's resistance to aging and rutting, according to American Tire Reclamation Inc. of Detroit. ATR is a division of the Rao Group, which also owns 15 Metro 25 Tire Centers Inc. stores in Michigan and Ohio.
ATR has been making carbon black for asphalt manufacture since opening its pilot plant in 1989, according to Executive Vice President Jack Fader. ``We're now at the point of creating market demand to accompany the building of a commercial-size plant,'' Mr. Fader said. Construction of the plant probably will begin in about three months at a Detroit site.
Section 1038 of ISTEA mandates the steadily increasing use of crumb-rubber-modified asphalt by states as a condition of receiving federal highway funds. Implementation of this provision, however, has been postponed.
Yet a provision in the National Highway System Designation Act would modify Section 1038 in various ways. One way is granting permission to use other materials besides crumb rubber to meet recycled tire utilization requirements. Carbon black and oil from pyrolysis are among those materials.
Advocates of Section 1038 hope the NHS bill, which has already passed the House, will pass the Senate before the fall adjournment.
Barring that, however, they hope to get the modifications to Section 1038 included in the House-Senate conference version of the Transportation Department appropriations bill for fiscal year 1995.
Carbon black and oil from pyrolysis have been used before as asphalt additives in pilot highway programs, particularly in New York, but the practice never gained wide acceptance, according to Sean Reed of the Rubber Pavements Association, adding he did not know why.
According to ATR's Mr. Fader, tests in Indiana have generated very favorable data on ATR-33.
Currently, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is evaluating ATR-33 with the object of using it in a pilot highway program sometime later this year.