Egyptian students produce diesel from used car tyres

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An undated handout photo received on October 11, 2013 show tyres which contained methamphetamine with a street value of Aus$200 million (USD 189 million), which arrived in Melbourne on a truck from China.

CAIRO – A group of engineering students in Cairo have built a machine that produces alternative fuel from vehicle tyres.

The university students came across the idea when they were looking for a graduation project and learnt about the technology from a professor at their university.

One of the students, Mohamed Saeed Ali, said the technology is inexpensive and easy to operate, which is partly why it is common in other countries.

"The project consists of the container in which we put the shredded tyres. We place a fire under the container which heats the tyres which will begin to evaporate. We put the vapour into a condenser which condenses the vapour, and the product is diesel oil. It is very similar in properties to pure diesel and the carbon or black coal is just left inside the container," he said.

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The team consists of 12 students, divided into three groups. The first group was responsible for research and design, the second for manufacturing and production, and the third group searched for investors for the initial application.

It took the team three months to design the device and another seven months to build it. Tyres are non-bio degradable and can be difficult to dispose of. Another student Mostafa Saeed says their project helps reduce waste.

"The two benefits gained from this process are environmental and industrial. The environmental benefit is that we are recycling used tyres instead of throwing them in the streets, instead of polluting the environment; we recycle them properly in an eco-friendly manner," he said.

The students are currently producing alternative fuel on a small scale, but are searching for investors.

Environmental degradation getting increasingly worse in Egypt where rapid population growth and urbanisation has caused a series of environmental problems.