BlackCycle announces first sustainable carbon black production
After its first 18 months of existence, members of the BlackCycle R&D project met at Michelin’s technology centre in Ladoux, France on 22 November for the consortium’s first workshop. Some 120 international industry leaders, academics, H2020 project coordinators, politicians, and institutional representatives from 20 countries exchanged ideas and discussed the deployment of circular economy initiatives in Europe.
During the workshop, the BlackCycle consortium announced the world’s first production of sustainable carbon blacks (sCB) for tyre applications on a conventional carbon black furnace reactor using oils derived from an end-of-life tyre pyrolysis process. BlackCycle says this production of a sustainable material from end-of-life tyres represents a “truly circular process.”
Compound properties remain constant
The use of pyrolysis oil (supplied by Pyrum Innovations) as carbon black feedstock was successfully evaluated within the Innovation department of Orion Engineered Carbons. Orion concluded that replacing the fossil fuel-based carbon black in a rubber compound with a carbon black made from oil derived from end-of-life tyre pyrolysis won’t change the properties. Therefore, the compound’s characteristics, such as its durability, conductivity and rolling resistance performance, will be maintained, even for demanding applications. Processing of rubber compounds also remains unchanged.
“Hence, we can assume that sCBs are an easy drop-in solution without the need to adjust the formulations of the rubber compounds or process parameters for instance in mixing, moulding, or curing,” states BlackCycle. “Because the carbon black content of elastomeric materials is relatively high with about 30 weight percentage on average, the technology applying pyrolysis oil as feedstock for CB production is a major leap towards a more sustainable rubber industry.”
BlackCycle comments that its value chain, driven by project stakeholders, made this “major technological breakthrough” possible. The BlackCycle project consortium consists of 12 partners from five different countries (Orion, Ineris, Quantis, Icamcyl, Aliapur, CSIC, CPERI/CERTH, Sisener, Pyrum, Estato, Hera, and Axelera) and is led by French tyre maker Michelin. Funded by the European Commission under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme, BlackCycle aims to create a circular economy for end-of-life tyre by converting them into highly technical secondary raw materials.