Birla Carbon & GrandBio Technologies introduce ‘breakthrough’ NDC masterbatch

Following a three-year joint development programme, Birla Carbon and GranBio Technologies are making their patent-pending Nanocellulose Dispersion Composite (NDC) rubber masterbatch available for qualification by tyre and rubber companies.

The product is the result of the two companies’ work to address growing demand from the tyre industry for improved rolling resistance by incorporating sustainable, bio-derived nanocellulose into commercial rubber compounds.

R&D teams within the industry and academia have actively looked into the use of nanocellulose in tyres and rubber goods over the past few years, however one particular issue has hindered widespread uptake by the rubber industry. Research hasn’t delivered an effective means of dispersing hydrophilic nanocellulose into hydrophobic rubber formulations – until now.

The NDC masterbatch overcomes traditional dispersion challenges by combining several synergistic innovations that team members developed, including GranBio’s patented hydrophobic form of nanocellulose. Birla Carbon shares that this breakthrough in nanocellulose technology for rubber compounds provides rubber compounders with many benefits, including easy dispersing, convenient, dust-free handling and integration into formulations along with increased use of renewable raw materials and improvements in fuel economy.

Sharing his thoughts on the partners’ announcement, Dale Clark, chief technology officer at Birla Carbon, said: “At Birla Carbon, we focus on the market trends and work closely with our customers to understand where they need help delivering value. A key product innovation goal of our tyre customers is to increase the amount of renewable raw materials in their tyres through product innovation.” He added: “The NDC masterbatch enables delivery of this goal while maintaining or improving tyre properties and performance.”

“This is a significant milestone in GranBio’s commercialisation of its breakthrough BioPlus nanocellulose technology,” stated Kenneth Hill, chief commercial officer at GranBio Technologies. “GranBio Technologies is committed to bringing renewable technologies to market to improve sustainability while providing improved product functionality for our customers. We are proud to be partnering with Birla Carbon to bring this solution to market and look forward to seeing the first commercial products literally on the road.”

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