alternatives to demanding them,” he says. This demand has accelerated Monolith’s expansion plans. It recently announced plans to construct a second facility, OC2, which will have a capacity of 180,000 tonnes/yr. The sum of the two capacities will make Olive Creek the largest single carbon black manufacturing facility in the US, according to the company. Construction on OC2, which is in the early design phase at present, is set to begin in Q2 of 2021, with completion expected in 2024.

Above: Monolith Materials claims its facility at

Hallam in the US produces zero emission carbon black

formally released. “But I’m happy to hear that word is getting out that a fully sustainable masterbatch is available for sale in North America,” he says. “Kylos has two manufacturing partners, one in New York State and the other in the Chicago areas and product is shipping. Kylos is fairly focused on a niche so we can still work with other [masterbatch producers].”

Right: Cabot says demand for deep black plastics is growing in

automotive as a consequence of lightweighting

Carbon from gas US-based Monolith Materials is taking another novel approach to improving the sustainability of carbon black production. The company says it achieved mechanical completion of its Olive Creek 1 (OC1) facility near Hallam in Nebraska in the US earlier this year. This is claimed to be the first commercial-scale carbon black manufacturing plant to combines natural gas feedstock and electricity through the methane pyrolysis process to manufacture carbon black with zero emissions. Methane pyrolysis-produced carbon black is said to be “nearly identical” in performance properties to carbon black made from petroleum feedstock. “In some formulations, it will be an easy drop-in. In others we will formulate the carbon black to match the properties,” says Monolith CTO Tom Maier. The OC1 facility is projected to produce

approximately 14,000 tonnes/yr and Monolith expects to start delivering carbon black to customers in Q4 of this year. Chris Cornille, Chief Commercial and Supply Chain Officer, says: “No matter who we talk to in the marketplace, ‘sustain- ability’ drives every conversation.” He says the OC1 plant will only supply a small percentage of the more than 14m tonne global market demand for carbon black but considers it a glimpse into the future of global carbon black manufacturing. “Over the last year, we’ve seen a shift in customers asking for clean carbon black

22 COMPOUNDING WORLD | November 2020

Traditional gains Traditional carbon black manufacturers are, of course, working on more sustainable solutions for their current product lines. Cabot cites the example of its new Black Pearls 1180HD specialty carbon

black which addresses calls for reduced CO2 emission from markets such as automotive. “Vehicle lightweighting and metal replacement is creating a market demand for stronger, more durable plastic materials with deep, dark colour,” the company says. “Due to the difficulty of dispersing traditional high colour carbon blacks, until now it has been difficult for automotive plastic compound manufacturers to deliver high black colour and mechanical strength simultaneously. Black Pearls 1180HD breaks this trade-off, promoting high jetness at low loadings, good dispersibility and mechanical strength preservation. Ultimately, this creates more opportunities for metal replacement and further reduction in wall thickness of existing plastic parts which help to reduce a vehicle’s weight,” the company says. Cabot says carbon black users in the electrical and electronic and consumer markets can also benefit from this new grade’s combination of favourable product characteristics. “Black Pearls 1180HD is an ideal choice for any application requiring deep, dark colour in combination with mechanical performance,” it says.



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