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ADDITIVES | CARBON BLACK


IMAGE:


SCANDINAVIAN ENVIRO SYSTEMS


Above:


Scandinavian Enviro Systems and Michelin hope to build a pyrolysis plant to produce rCB from tyres


applications…by producing high technical second raw materials (SRMs) from ELTs. The BlackCycle project aims at creating, developing, and optimising a full value chain, from ELT feedstock to SRMs, with no waste of resources in any part of the chain and a specific attention for the environmental impact.” The project’s ambition is that by 2029 close to one out of every two end-of-life tyres will go through its new recovery process, “which will be the only virtuous cycle of this magnitude amongst all industrial sectors in the recovery of end-of-life products.”


K C


Investing upstream In July, Scandinavian Enviro Systems and Michelin prolonged their letter of intent regarding a strategic partnership until the end of October (after this article was written). Initially, the parties expected a final agreement would have been reached by mid-year, but negotiations have been delayed, in part due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. The two companies have agreed, however,


that the partnership will include a development agreement to deploy


Above: Projects such as the EU-funded BlackCycle aim to developed integrated systems to recover carbon black from scrap car tyres


Enviro’s pyrolysis technology on a larger scale and a shared project to build a factory to industrialise the technology. Enviro Sales Manager Fredrik Olofsson says that the company does intend to work on plastics applications for rCB and is carrying out some trials, but for the moment its emphasis is on tyres and other rubber products. “The problem with plastics applications is the high ash content in rCB,” he says. Without special processing steps, ash contents in rCB are substantially above what is normally required to produce plastic compounds with good levels of blackness. Other leading rCB producers include Black Bear


Carbon in The Netherlands. However, its attempts to bring rCB to market suffered a major set-back in early 2019 when its already- limited production facility was taken out of production by a fire. In Novem- ber last year, the company


18 COMPOUNDING WORLD | November 2020 IMAGE: BACK BEAR CARBON


announced it was aiming to develop its next tyre carbonisation plant at the Port of Rotterdam. Construction is set to begin next year on the facility, which will decompose granulate from end-of life tires into carbon black, pyrolysis oil and gas.


Pandemic effects Germany-headquartered Pyrolyx was one of the earliest players in the rCB sector and had been making progress until the arrival of the Covid pandemic. The company has one plant at Stegelitz in Germany, which has been operating for several years, and another at Terre Haute in Indiana in the US, which began operation in January. However, it said in March that both would be idled and has given no indication yet as to when they will restart. Despite the pandemic challenges, US-based Bolder Industries, another company converting end-of-life tyres into carbon black and petrochemicals, says 2020 has been a year of growth due to increasing demand for sustainably produced products. Its flagship product, BolderBlack, is aimed squarely as an alternative to petroleum-derived carbon black pigments in plastics and offers the typical virgin carbon attributes critical for thermoplastics products such as UV protection, conductivity, and anti-static properties, according to the company. BolderBlack is made from 100% post-consumer or post-industrial tyres and scrap rubber. Its lifecycle impact versus virgin carbon black is massive, according to the company, which claims 90% less water consumption, 61% less electricity input, and 97% lower CO2


emissions. “We recover


98% of the materials from each discarded tyre,” says CEO Tony Wibbeler. Bolder Industries broke ground on a plant


expansion earlier this year that will increase capacity by nearly 200%. It will add around 1,580m2


to the company’s existing footprint at its


site at Maryville in the US state of Missouri. Completion is scheduled for Q1 2021. International market interest in Bolder Industries’


Left: Black Bear Carbon’s rCB ambitions were hit by a fire at its Netherlands facility. Plans for a new facility are underway


www.compoundingworld.com


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