April 14, 2024

Recovered Carbon Black Market Size and Share: Insights and Growth Opportunities

Reclaimed Carbon: A Sustainable Solution for Tire Manufacturing

Recovering Carbon from End-of-Life Tires

As tire manufacturing requires the use of carbon black, a non-renewable material derived from petroleum, there has been a growing interest in utilizing recovered carbon black (Recovered carbon black) obtained from end-of-life tires. With millions of scrap tires generated each year, recovering carbon from these used tires provides an eco-friendly recycling solution. The first step involves mechanically or cryogenically grinding whole tires into crumb rubber. This process breaks the tires down into smaller pieces, making it easier to separate and extract the carbon black. Next, the crumb rubber goes through a high temperature process where the carbon black is freed from the rubber matrix. Finally, the Recovered carbon black is cleaned and processed and made available for use in new tire production or other rubber applications.

Challenges in Producing High Quality Recovered carbon black

While the concept of recovering carbon from scrap tires seems straightforward, producing Recovered carbon black that meets the performance and quality standards required by tire manufacturers poses certain challenges. During its lifetime within the tire, the carbon black particles become embedded and coated with other rubber compounds, making removal and purification difficult. This can affect the reincorporation properties of Recovered carbon black if not adequately addressed. Additionally, impurities from other tire components like steel wire and fibers must be removed to avoid contaminating the Recovered carbon black. Tire recycling companies have invested in advanced separation and purification technologies to overcome these hurdles and consistently deliver high purity Recovered carbon black on par with conventionally produced carbon black.

Assessing Quality and Performance of Recovered carbon black

Extensive testing and evaluation is necessary to validate that Recovered carbon black performs just as well as traditional carbon black in tires and other rubber goods. Tire and rubber product manufacturers require carbon feedstock to meet precise specifications for qualities like surface area, aggregate structure, reincorporation properties, and color. Laboratories assess recovered carbon samples using analytical techniques such as nitrogen adsorption analysis, transmission electron microscopy, and compound testing. This allows characterization of Recovered carbon black properties and direct comparison with the virgin carbon black normally used. Feedback from trials and pilot production runs provide data on factors like tire rolling resistance, strength, wear and tread characteristics. Only when Recovered carbon black consistently delivers equivalent technical capabilities will it gain broader acceptance as a mainstream carbon black alternative.

Sustainable and Cost Effective Choice for Manufacturers

As the tire industry aims to increase recycling rates and reduce dependence on non-renewable inputs, utilizing Recovered carbon black offers both sustainability and financial incentives. Recovering carbon from scrap tires extends the lifetime value of this material and keeps it in productive use through repeated production cycles – effectively giving tires a “second life”. This supports the transition to a more circular tire economy. For manufacturers, combining Recovered carbon black with virgin carbon black at optimized proportions produces cost savings compared to using just the latter. As recycling technologies continue to mature, the price difference between Recovered carbon black and conventional carbon is also decreasing. With growing Recovered carbon black production capacity and established supply chains, it presents a viable alternative carbon source for tire and rubber goods companies seeking sustainable yet economically sensible options.

Growing Adoption in the Tire Industry

Leading tire manufacturers have steadily increased their usage of Recovered carbon black over the past decade as quality has improved and supply security has emerged. Global recycling companies now have multiple plants and agreements in place to provide a steady volume of Recovered carbon black to major brands. Many tire producers source 5-10% of their carbon black needs from recovered sources and have set targets to double this incorporation rate by 2025. Original equipment fitments on new vehicles also represent an expanding market segment. As more scrap tires are collected and processed efficiently thanks to evolving policy frameworks and collection infrastructure, the pool of available Recovered carbon black will grow to support higher adoption levels industry-wide. With qualification and validation ongoing, specialized high performance tire applications will likely serve as a future frontier where Recovered carbon black stands to gain footing.

Conclusion

The recovery and use of carbon black from end-of-life tires presents an industrially proven solution to advance the circularity of tire production. Through investment and refinement of recycling technologies, the quality and consistency of Recovered carbon black has matched that of conventional carbon feedstock, assuaging concerns about performance impacts. As both an environmentally sensitive and economically practical option, Recovered carbon black will likely play an increasingly strategic role for tire makers seeking to strengthen sustainability credentials while controlling manufacturing costs. With rising scrap tire volumes and ongoing development, recovered carbon black is positioned to become a mainstream carbon input supporting greener tire manufacturing globally.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it