FRANKLINTON – PRTI, Inc. keeps burning rubber. Its technology enables the recapture of energy from old tires.
The company has raised more than $3.7 million in equity from 83 investors, according to an SEC filing signed by CEO Chris Hare. And he sees more growth coming as a result.
“The outlook for the business is to fund growth,” said Hare in an interview with WRAL TechWire this week. “And growth means multiple sites in the United States and in other countries.”
The company is already actively looking at potential locations for future sites, but its headquarters is in North Carolina.
“We’ve been busy getting our technology and company ready for expansion,” said Hare. “We’re pleased to have so much local support.”
PRTI’s technology originated in Italy, Hare said, and allows the recapture of energy from waste tires and other non-saleable tires.
“We have a technology that we transferred from Italy that takes whole tires and turns them into energy,” said Hare. “This is unusual because in the 150 years of use, there has not yet been a successful way to take tires apart and recover the energy that went into them.”
The company moved the technology and equipment from Italy, then spent the last five years improving it, said Hare, which included making the technology more robust, and more automated. Hare, who used to run a $8.5 billion supply chain unit at Sony Ericsson, noted that this was an intentional choice. According to Hare, the PRTI leadership team and staff all have technical and business backgrounds in aerospace, healthcare, or large scale construction.
“What we’ve built in North Carolina is the beginning of multiple sites in multiple states that recover the energy from the 300 million end-of-life tires that are thrown away in the U.S. each year,” Hare said. “Build it once, make it work, make it work really well, then build multiple sites that you know how to manage,” said Hare.
Now, the company is poised for expansion, he noted, and this latest tranche of funding will allow for that.
“We have large chambers where we are cooking tires,” said Hare, describing the technical process, PRTI Thermal Demanufacturing®. “Warming the tires up to the point where they gasify, then we’re able to cool and condense that gas, some of it turns to oil. We end up with three fuels, and steel, and the steel is sold, and the other three become energy.”
Essentially, the company’s proprietary technology enables the company to take the tire apart using heat, which breaks down the carbon chain that went into making the tire, and turns it into power that otherwise wouldn’t exist, Hare explained. “We’re looking at this as a closed-system, closed energy system that is sustainable and working within environmental limits,” he said. “”We close the loop with energy from an unsolved problem waste that we are able to use in our blockchain data center. This is a much higher value use that powering the grid.”
That process eliminates the need to cut or shred existing tires into smaller components, the company website describes, which also results in cost- and time-savings.
It also provides a cleaner option to any supplier with waste tires than burning or burying tires would be, the company website states.
A prior amended filing with the SEC, dated in November 2019, states that the company raised nearly $6.3 million from 42 investors, of a possible $10 million the company sought to raise.
That 2019 amended filing listed an amount of $3,704,175, the same figure noted as the total offering amount on the company’s most recent filing.
The company also raised about $3.8 million in 2017 and about $9.65 million in 2016, according to filings with the SEC.
“We’ve been raising money as we’ve needed to,” said Hare. “Reality is, we’ve had a lot of really great support, particularly in North Carolina and Virginia.”