Rubber-technology innovator says it will keep eyes on road

A new Las Vegas company says it plans to change the way the world paves and fixes asphalt roads.

Phoenix Materials Technologies will use rubber from ground-up tires to build safer, longer-lasting and quieter roads, Chief Executive Officer Steven Garber told the Nevada Commission on Economic Development on Tuesday.

An affiliated company at 4775 E. Cheyenne Ave. grinds used tires into rubber crumbs. Phoenix Materials uses a patented process that uses rubber crumbs to make one-half inch to seven-eighths inch dry pellets, he said.

"Our pellets don't degrade. They could last forever," Garber said.

The pellets will replace conventional asphalt that must be kept continually heated at 325 degrees, he said. Workers will heat the pellets only when they are ready to start mixing it with sand and gravel at the construction site, "almost like instant coffee."

The used tires otherwise would be dumped in landfills, Garber said, and the manufacturing process creates "zero emissions."

The process saves energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists say leads to global warming.

"This technology, if we're right about it, will be accepted in all jurisdictions," Garber said. He spoke about potential customers around the world.

"We're pretty confident that the market is there waiting for us to open," he said.

Garber said it can be used for patching road pot holes and for roofing as well.

"This sounds like a really cool technology," said Commissioner Anthony Dazzio, senior vice president of Burke Construction Group.

The commission voted 6-1 Tuesday to approve $250,00 in reductions on sales, business and property taxes over 10 years. In addition, the company received a $12,000 training grant and five-year deferral of $48,000 in state sales taxes.

The company will employ 38 workers for an average hourly wage of $17.21. It invested $2.4 million in capital equipment.

Phoenix Materials Technologies occupies a part of the Las Vegas Paving facility at 9325 S. Jones Blvd. Las Vegas Paving will be the first customer, he said, predicting some local roads will be paved with the material by the year's end.

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at jedwards@ or 702-383-0420.