Continental Advances Sustainable Tyre Production with Recycled Racing Tyres

Continental, has taken a significant step towards sustainability by incorporating carbon black recovered from recycled racing tyres into its production of solid tyres. This innovative move aligns with the company's commitment to a circular economy and highlights its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impact.

In a landmark initiative, Continental processed 300 CrossContact Extreme E racing tyres using a specialised pyrolysis process. This technique enables the recovery of carbon black, a critical component in tyre production, traditionally sourced from virgin raw materials. By reutilising carbon black from end-of-life tyres, Continental significantly cuts down on the use of new raw materials, thus reducing CO2 emissions.

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Continental Tyres
Published on
December 12, 2023

Since September 2023, the premium tyre manufacturer has been producing solid tyres with recycled carbon black at its Korbach plant in Germany. These tyres, primarily used in forklifts, incorporate materials from recycled car and truck tyres, showcasing Continental's dedication to eco-friendly production practices.

Matthias Haufe, Head of Material Development and Industrialisation at Continental Tires, emphasised the importance of this initiative. "By recycling our Extreme E racing tyres, we are not only promoting the viability of tyre pyrolysis but also advancing towards our goal of 60 percent tyre-to-tyre circularity by 2050. Our focus remains on minimising the use of fossil raw materials and reducing CO2 emissions," he said.

The circular economy concept for recycling end-of-life tires, including the extraction of recovered industrial carbon black (rCB).

In collaboration with Pyrum Innovations, Continental is refining the recycling of end-of-life tyres through pyrolysis. This partnership aims to optimise the use of industrial carbon black in various Continental rubber compounds. Pyrum's patented technology disassembles tyres into their constituent parts, enabling the extraction and recycling of valuable materials such as oil, gas, and industrial carbon black.

The use of industrial carbon black in rubber compounds is pivotal for enhancing the stability, strength, and longevity of tyres. Continental's collaboration with Pyrum Innovations underscores its commitment to improving recycling techniques and the application of recovered materials in tyre production.

The company's role as the exclusive tyre partner of the all-electric race series Extreme E further cements its commitment to sustainability. Continental's CrossContact Extreme E racing tyres, used in the 2022 X-Prix races, comprised approximately 43 percent recycled and renewable raw materials. These materials include silica from rice husk ash and ContiRe.Tex technology, which recycles PET bottles into high-performance polyester fibres.

Continental's sustainability strategy extends beyond tyre production. The company recycled the tyres from the 2021 Extreme E season to create rubber paving stones for a new basketball court in Hanover, providing a recreational space for local children. This initiative, dubbed "Turning racing tyres into living space," exemplifies Continental's holistic approach to a circular economy.

As Continental strives for 100 percent carbon neutrality across its value chain by 2050, the integration of recovered carbon black into tyre production marks a significant milestone. This approach not only reflects the company's innovative spirit but also its commitment to responsible and sustainable business practices, setting a new standard in the tyre industry.

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