HAWTHORNE, Fla.—Many industry observers contended that ECO² Inc. was gambling with the controversial tire pyrolysis as it tried unsuccessfully for years to set up a commercially viable tire recycling plant. Ironically, a gambling organization has recently acquired ECO² and all its assets—except the pyrolysis division.
On Feb. 27, ECO²'s board of directors and officers resigned after completing a merger with Casinos International Inc., a company that is trying to lease a gaming vessel and port-side venues in Florida. The merged firm probably will change the ECO² name and will be headquartered in Tampa, Fla., a company spokesman said.
Casinos International divested the tire portion of ECO² to the former ECO² officers to settle their contracts, the spokesman said.
Former ECO² president Charles Ledford or other former officials did not respond to several messages Tire Business left with an answering service.
The merged company acquired the other assets of ECO²—a jet-ski company, a movie it helped finance and stocks—investments the pyrolysis firm apparently made to help finance its main goal of marketing its patented Tires-to-Energy Resource System of pyrolysis, the spokesman said.
The pyrolysis system heats tires in a vacuum-sealed cylinder, breaking them down into byproducts of oil, gas, steel and carbon.
ECO² had set up a pilot plant in Hawthorne in 1993 where it produced crumb rubber for use in manufactured rubber products. But despite numerous inquiries and negotiations, the company was unable to finalize and set up a commercially viable pyrolysis plant.
There are a number of pyrolysis systems in the tire recycling industry and the pyrolysis process, in general, has many skeptics and many supporters.
Numerous entrepreneurs and investors have considered setting up pyrolysis plants—and a few plants in North America are up and running. But skeptics claim the expense of the system and low-grade quality of the oil and carbon byproducts don't make the process economically feasible.