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materials | Carbon black


should be at full production before the end of this year. When Leunissen spoke to Compounding World in early October, the plant was in the commissioning phase, with the company sending out production-scale samples to potential customers. Black Bear claims to be the first producer of carbon


black from tyres to use a continuous and fully automated system of production. Leunissen says Black Bear has ambitious plans to add further capacity over the next five years. He says there could be up to 50 more lines, mostly in Europe and North America, by the end of that period. The company’s business model calls for joint ventures with tyre collectors; the first plant is a JV with Kargro, one of the largest tyre collectors in the Netherlands. Black Bear is marketing its carbon blacks for


Above: The automotive industry is particularly keen to use more sustain- able carbon blacks, according to Black Bear Carbon. It produces carbon black from waste car tyres


carbon blacks to make them dispersible in either polar or non-polar polymers. The grades provide pigmenta- tion in the medium to high range; UV stability is on a par with traditional carbon blacks. The company guarantees that its carbon black is at least as good as the highest quality carbon black on the market. “Our carbon black is of consistent, high quality and performs beautifully for a wide range of applications,” it says. Rik Leunissen, Black Bear Commercial and


Business Development, points out that PAH levels in its grades are on average less than 5 ppb, which qualify them for use in food contact applications in the European Union. At present, one type of PAH, benzo[a] pyrene, is present at a level of 14 ppb, which is higher than the 5 ppb permitted for FDA approval (the FDA sets levels for each PAH, rather than an average), but Leunissen says the company is moving to reduce that. Black Bear grades are supplied pre-milled down to a


D99 average diameter of under four microns. For some applications, particles are agglomerated into pellets, but normally no further milling by the customer is required.


Black Bear automatically analyses each tyre going


into its process for its chemical composition, particu- larly the silica content (silica is present in varying levels in tyres and has a measurable effect on the properties of resulting carbon blacks). This enables the company to produce grades with controllable low or high levels of silica (5-7% for NEPtune PM50, 24-26% for NEPtune PM30). Due to the silica content, carbon blacks from tyres tend to be less conductive than traditional types. “This brings additional value in applications where electrical resistivity is required, for example, insulating tapes, safety equipment (gloves/shoes/mats), specific hoses,” Black Bear says. The company currently has a line with an output


capacity of 5,000 tonnes/y (from an input of around 15,000 tonnes of tyres). The company said this line


34 COMPOUNDING WORLD | November 2016


coatings and inks (solely for their pigmentation properties) for tyres and technical rubber goods (where the reinforcing properties of carbon blacks are of key importance) and for plastics compounds. “In plastics, we mostly find coloristic performance to be of most importance, although there are some applications where other properties for example reinforcing, play a role,” Leunissen says. Compounding World has previously reported on other


companies developing technologies to produce carbon black from alternative resources. Germany-based Pyrolyx, has claimed to have both a batch process and a continuous process for producing carbon black from waste tyres (see Compounding World Nov 2015), but it is not clear if the continuous process is yet operational. In its H1 2016 financial report the company said it had signed a development agreement with a major tyre manufacturer and had supplied commercial product to the market via its CCT Stegelitz subsidiary. It said volumes had, however, been held back by the low price of carbon black, a consequence of low global oil prices. Meanwhile, at US-based Aemerge, President and CEO Adam Seger says the company has transitioned its technology away from used tyres to medical waste and has a new facility dedicated to this in the process of starting up. Seger anticipates carbon black sales in the future but says he is not yet in a position to share data.


Click on the links for more information: ❙ www.cabotcorp.comwww.birlacarbon.comwww.imerys-graphite-and-carbon.comwww.unipetrol.cz/enwww.orioncarbons.comwww.iqapgroup.comwww.blackbearcarbon.comwww.pyrolyx.comwww.aemerge.com


www.compoundingworld.com


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