The rubber bitumen plant at MOL Group’s Zala Site, representing an investment of around US$10 million has been completed, the company announced. The facility, built in a year, is capable of producing 20,000 tons of rubber bitumen annually. As well as recycling 8-10 percent of Hungarian domestic tire waste, the new plant will contribute to the efficient operation of the Zala Site and to the preservation of over 100 jobs.
About 3,000 tons of rubber scrap per year is used to produce rubber bitumen through the recycling of about half a million used tyyes, about 8-10 percent of the annual domestic scrap tyres. According to the company, the new plant can produce about 96 tons of rubber bitumen per day, which annually translates into 20,000 tons of raw material for road construction, enough to construct a new 2x1 lane 200 km highway or to refurbish the upper layer of 600 km of a 2x1 lane highway.
In 2012, MOL opened and successfully operated a pilot plant for rubber bitumen with an annual capacity of 5,000 tons at the Zala Site. In response to increased demand, the company started building a new plant in the spring of 2019. The plant was completed in just over a year and, despite Covid-19, continued to be built with the appropriate precautions in place. It is an important achievement that no working days have been lost during the project implementation, as per the statement.
"The 96 tons per day capacity is sufficient to meet the demand for bitumen for larger volumes of road construction works. What’s more, this amount also provides the possibility to exploit new business opportunities in surrounding countries,” said Tibor Zsinkó, Vice President, MOL Hungary Downstream.
“With chemically stabilised rubber bitumen being a MOL patent, the sale of the license could be an additional utilisation opportunity, for which the new plant serves as an excellent example. In the last 8 years, about 150 km of road sections have been built or refurbished in Hungary using rubber bitumen, which can now increase in volume due to the newly added production capacity. The production of 20,000 tons covers about 10-15% of the domestic bitumen demand. MOL Group is aiming to establish itself as the market leader for recycling in Central and Eastern Europe, on the way to deliver on the company’s “Enter Tomorrow 2030” strategy, the completion of this new plant is another building block on our way.”
All the necessary conditions are in place for rubber bitumen roads to become more and more widespread. This could possibly result in road conditions improving noticeably in the long run, as the excellent adhesion of the rubber bitumen to minerals reduces the chances of pot-holes forming and its higher load capacity will result in a lower likelihood of ruts appearing, said the company. Around residential areas, it can be an important consideration for construction companies to use this to achieve significantly lower levels of traffic noise, reducing environmental noise pollution.