Lehigh raises funds for international expansion
US-based end of life tyre recycler Lehigh Technologies says its recent US$8 million round of financing, held to support the company’s geographic expansion and technology roadmap, saw Japanese specialty chemicals firm JSR Corporation join the ranks of Lehigh investors. And Koichi Kawasaki, executive managing officer at JSR Corporation, describes partnering in Lehigh Technologies’ expansion strategies as a “great fit for JSR”, as Lehigh’s micronised rubber powder (MRP) technology offers its customer base “a new material that brings a strong value proposition and sustainability benefits.”
Lehigh Technologies has commercialised an MRP technology that transforms end-of-life rubber material into a lower cost, sustainable specialty chemical that replaces oil-based materials. According to the company, to date its MRP has been used in the manufacture of over 250 million tyres, with the product supplied to six of the world’s top ten tyre manufacturers.
“Commercial sales of MRP have been growing rapidly – over the past few years alone, we’ve demonstrated annual growth rates of 30 per cent,” says Dr. Alan Barton, CEO of Lehigh Technologies. “Furthermore, we have made significant inroads into markets outside of the United States. However, this latest round of financing will give the company additional resources to drive growth in Europe and Asia, eventually culminating in local manufacturing. JSR, a highly regarded leader in polymer technology, will play a key role in this process.”
The MRP production facility Lehigh operates is said to be the largest in the world and has an annual capacity of approximately 63,500 tonnes (140 million pounds). Lehigh has also invested in research and development facilities, where it works with customers to develop new and more advanced MRP formulations for high-value applications in the tyre and rubber, plastics and asphalt industries, among others.