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H2020

ECOMOBI Report Summary

Project ID: 744040

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ECOMOBI (Eco-friendly Modification of Bitumen (ECOMOBI) - Recycling end of life tyres into an efficient bitumen modifier)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

End of life tyres (ELTs) are increasingly considered as a valuable resource. In most European countries, the rate of recovery already reaches the 100%. Roughly the 50% of these ELTs are recycled as a material while the other 50% are used as a fuel. Energy recovery generates multiple environmental impacts and therefore material recovery is a more environmentally responsible end use, also able to generate additional economic value.
Tecnofilm, an Italian company specialised in the production of functionalised polyolefins and specialty compounds, has developed an innovative, high performance, environmentally friendly bitumen modifier based on recycled tyre rubber (RTR) from ELTs. RD PRENE will provide producers of polymer modified bitumen (PmB) for road construction with a high quality and affordable (1€/kg) alternative to styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) (currently the most widely used bitumen modifier in road construction applications) and rubberised asphalt blends. Through the ECOMOBI project, Tecnofilm aims to implement RD PRENE in our production, bringing it into the market and making a difference by providing a valuable recovery alternative for ELTs.
ECOMOBI Feasibility Study has pointed out the unique business opportunity provided by RD PRENE and its technical, commercial and economic viability. In addition we have identified our key stakeholders and the technical and commercial tasks that need to be developed in order to get RD PRENE successfully into the market. Therefore we have decided to continue with the project. As the natural path after the Phase 1 project from the SME Instrument, Tecnofilm considers the Phase 2 funding opportunity as the best option

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

We have performed a 4 months feasibility study on ECOMOBI. The following key aspects of the project were assessed:
- Technical feasibility study: We further evaluated the development stage of RD PRENE (TRL7) and defined the required activities to optimise RD PRENE production and adapt Tecnofilm capabilities to the industrial production of up to 10,000 tonnes of RD PRENE per year. We analysed RD PRENE environmental performance and elaborated a risk management plan for the execution of the ECOMOBI project.
- Stakeholders engagement: We identified the key stakeholders with a role in the development of the project: Polymer modified bitumen producers to perform laboratory tests, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) experts, IPR consultants and raw materials and parts suppliers.
- Business model and financial sustainability: We developed a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, defined RD PRENE business model and analysed the financial viability of the ECOMOBI project in order to predict the expected revenues (over €30 million by 2022), profit (€1.5 million by 2022) and personnel (5 new positions) and funding requirements (€2 million).
- Market analysis and strategy: We developed a market analysis for RD PRENE, identifying our end users (polymer modified bitumen producers) and their needs, target markets, future trends, market barriers and competitors. We also developed RD PRENE commercialisation strategy and identified relevant dissemination activities to reach our end users.
- Certification and exploitation requirements: We identified the relevant standards and regulations for the production and commercialisation of RD PRENE. We developed a Freedom to Operate (FTO) analysis and determined the best action plan in order to protect ECOMOBI intellectual property.
The results of the study proved ECOMOBI to be technically, commercially and financially feasible and confirmed us on our decision to continue with the project and pursue the SME Instrument Phase 2 opportunity.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

RD PRENE provides a new profitable alternative for the material recovery of end of life tyres (ELTS), decreasing the amount of ELTs being burned for energy recovery and therefore the associated impacts (GHG, air pollution, solid residues).
Thanks to RD PRENE, PmB producers for road construction will be able to produce a high performance PmB while saving up to 35€ per each tonne they produce and reducing their environmental footprint. RD PRENE performs similarly to SBS in terms of penetration, viscosity, softening point and storage stability but provides up to a 50% longer pavement service life and reduces traffic noise in a 40-70%. Moreover, Tecnofilm’s patented production method guarantees an optimum processability in the bitumen blend, eliminating the need for additional grinding or heating, thus reducing our end users’ energy and personnel expenses.
The Feasibility Study has demonstrated the technical, commercial and financial viability of ECOMOBI and therefore we have decided to continue with the project. We have also identified the technical and commercial tasks that need to be developed in order to successfully bring RD PRENE into the market and their most practical and coherent distribution. As the natural path after the Phase 1 project from the SME Instrument, Tecnofilm considers the Phase 2 funding opportunity as the best option. We expect the profit from RD PRENE to be over €1.5 million by 2022 while the total turnover by that year is estimated to be more than €30 million.

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