Continental incorporates recovered Carbon Black into sustainable tire production
Continental continues to step up its activities to ensure a circular economy. Recently, the tire manufacturer added recovered carbon black (rCB) to its newly produced Super Elastic solid tires at its tire plant in Korbach, Germany, thus reducing the use of fossil raw materials and CO2 emissions. Solid tires such as Continental’s SC20+ already contain around 60% renewable and recycled materials thanks to their high natural rubber content. By 2050 at the latest, Continental aims to use 100% sustainable materials in its tire products.
The recovered carbon black is supplied by Pyrum Innovations, one of Continental’s partner companies. Pyrum breaks down end-of-life-tires into their individual components in industrial furnaces using a special pyrolysis process. This allows valuable raw materials contained in end-of-life-tires to be extracted and recycled. Solid tires have a high load capacity and are extremely stable, puncture-proof, maintenance-free and highly economical. They are mainly used in material handling by forklift trucks, airport vehicles, heavy transport vehicles, sideloaders, platform trucks and other industrial vehicles.
Advanced rubber compounds ensure reliable tire performance
“Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the specialty tire segment. Our Super Elastic solid tires combine low rolling resistance, long service life and a comparatively high proportion of sustainable materials,” says Matthias-Stephan Müller, product manager for material handling tires in Continental’s Specialty Tires business area.
Most forklift trucks in intralogistics are already powered electrically. The range and charging times of the battery employed are therefore important. Tires with a low rolling resistance can help to keep the energy consumption of electrically powered forklifts low and thus contributing to improved vehicle range.
The rubber compound is crucial for high energy efficiency and therefore low rolling resistance, as valuable natural resources can be saved and the energy consumption of special vehicles reduced. Müller explains: “Our customers want to make their operating processes even more environmentally friendly, resource-saving and efficient. Forklift trucks, for example, are required to do more work in the shortest possible time. This means moving heavier loads and traveling further distances at higher speeds. This is where Continental comes in with its customized tire solutions.”
Recovered carbon black from end-of-life tires thanks to efficient pyrolysis process
Industrial carbon black is an important resource used as a filler in tire production and in the manufacture of other industrial rubber products. The targeted use of carbon black in rubber compounds increases the stability, strength and durability of tires.
“In Pyrum, we have found a partner that has developed a particularly efficient pyrolysis process. Together, we want to further develop the process for the pyrolysis of end-of-life tires,” explains Matthias Haufe, Head of Material Development and Industrialization at Continental Tires. In the future, the recovered carbon black will also be used in other Continental compounds. Jointly with Pyrum, the tire manufacturer is currently working on further optimizing and expanding the recycling of end-of-life tires using pyrolysis.
The use of recovered carbon black from end-of-life-tires is an important step toward more circular business practices in Continental’s tire production. The company is working tirelessly to advance innovative technologies and sustainable products and services throughout its entire value chain, from sourcing sustainable materials to recycling end-of-life tires. By 2050 at the latest, Continental aims to achieve 100 percent carbon-neutrality along its entire value chain.
Press release by Continental.