Continental Incorporates Recovered Carbon Black in Solid Tyres Production

Continental, a leading tyre manufacturer, has announced the integration of recovered carbon black (rCB) into the production of its Super Elastic solid tyres at its Korbach plant in Hessen, Germany. This innovative move is set to significantly reduce the dependency on fossil raw materials and subsequently decrease CO2 emissions.

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Published on
September 13, 2023

The solid tyres, which are now being produced at the Korbach facility, are part of Continental's ongoing commitment to sustainability. Notably, the company's SC20+ solid tyres already boast a composition of approximately 60% renewable and recycled materials, primarily due to their high natural rubber content. Continental has set an ambitious goal: by 2050, they aim to utilize 100% sustainable materials in all their tyre products.

This initiative is made possible through a partnership with Pyrum Innovations, a company specializing in breaking down end-of-life tyres into their base components using a unique pyrolysis process. This method enables the extraction and recycling of valuable raw materials from old tyres. Solid tyres, known for their durability, puncture-resistance, and cost-effectiveness, are primarily used in heavy-duty vehicles like forklifts, airport vehicles, and other industrial transport vehicles.

At Continental's tire plant in Korbach, Hessen, recovered industrial carbon black (rCB) is being added to newly produced Super Elastic solid tires, thus reducing the use of fossil materials and cutting CO2 emissions.

Matthias-Stephan Müller, the product manager for material handling tyres in Continental's Specialty tyres business area, commented on the development. "Sustainability is becoming increasingly pivotal in the specialty tyre segment. Our Super Elastic solid tyres are designed to offer low rolling resistance, extended lifespan, and a significant proportion of sustainable materials."

With the majority of forklifts in intralogistics now being electrically powered, the efficiency of the battery, in terms of range and charging times, is paramount. tyres with minimal rolling resistance can aid in reducing the energy consumption of these electric forklifts, thereby enhancing their range.

Müller further elaborated on the importance of the rubber compound in achieving energy efficiency. "Our aim is to support our customers in making their operations more eco-friendly, resource-efficient, and productive. With the increasing demands on forklifts to transport heavier loads over longer distances at faster speeds, Continental's tailored tyre solutions are more relevant than ever."

Industrial carbon black plays a crucial role in the tyre production process, enhancing the stability, strength, and longevity of tyres. Matthias Haufe, Head of Material Development and Industrialization at Continental tyres, shed light on the collaboration with Pyrum. "We've partnered with Pyrum because of their exceptionally efficient pyrolysis process. Our joint goal is to refine this process for the pyrolysis of end-of-life tyres."

In the foreseeable future, the recovered carbon black will also find its way into other Continental compounds. Both companies are currently focused on enhancing and broadening the recycling of old tyres using pyrolysis.

Circular economy concept for the recycling of scrap tires, including the recovery of recycled carbon black (rCB).

Continental's decision to use recovered carbon black from end-of-life tyres underscores its commitment to more circular business practices in tyre production. The company is unwavering in its pursuit of innovative technologies and sustainable products and services across its entyre value chain. By 2050, Continental is determined to achieve complete carbon-neutrality throughout its operations.

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