After its first 18 months of existence, the consortium of the BlackCycle project welcomed on the 22nd of November 2021 at Michelin’s technology centre at Ladoux (France), 120 international industry leaders, academics, H2020 project coordinators, politicians, and institutional representatives from 20 countries to exchange ideas and discuss 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 by using oils derived from an end-of-life tire pyrolysis process. This novel production of a sustainable material from end-of-life tyres represents a truly circular process.
The usage of pyrolysis oil (supplied by Pyrum Innovations, Germany) as carbon black feedstock was successfully evaluated in the Innovation department of Orion Engineered Carbons. Orion concluded that replacing in a rubber coumpound a fossil fuel-based carbon black with a carbon black made from oil derived from the ELT pyrolysis will not change its properties.
Therefore, even the most demanding applications will maintain a high-performance regarding properties such as durability, conductivity, rolling resistance and other characteristics.
The processing of the rubber compounds will be unchanged according to the analysis of the green compounds.
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, molding, or curing. Because the carbon black content of elastomeric materials is relatively high with about 30 weight % on average, the technology applying pyrolysis oil as feedstock for CB production is a major leap towards a more sustainable rubber industry.
This major technological breakthrough was made possible by the BlackCycle value chain driven by the stakeholders of the project.