How Bolder Industries boosts sustainability with environment-friendly recovered carbon black
Ken Dunn, Director of Sustainability at Bolder Industries, recently published an article describing the commitment of Bolder Industries to sustainability. In the article, Mr. Dunn describes his career path prior to as well as at Bolder Industries. In addition, he shares an amazing story of how the company impacts our environment, mitigates pollution and helps circular economy ideas become real.
Below, we cite his article published on the website of Bolder Industries.
“Tony, if the water, energy, and CO2 savings you described from the use of BolderBlack compared to any other alternative are substantiated, it’ll be a sustainability home run!” So began my conversation with Bolder Industries’ founder and CEO Tony Wibbeler five years ago while waiting for the public-school bus to collect our kids.
My family had recently relocated to Boulder, CO from Chicago. Having just retired as Chief Sustainability Officer and General Counsel at JBT Corporation, a global manufacturing company, I was considering various circular economy/sustainability opportunities.
At JBT I had the rewarding job of establishing a Sustainability Department and implementing large-scale energy efficiency initiatives at the company’s facilities in Brazil, China, Sweden, and the US. We also installed a massive solar array at JBT’s facility near Fresno, CA.
Prior to JBT, I had the privilege of being appointed the first Chief Sustainability Officer for the Denver Public School (DPS) system. While there, we completed large-scale, facility-wide efficiency upgrades to reduce natural gas and electricity use—at a time (2007) when CO2-emitting, coal-fired power plants were predominantly supplying the electricity to DPS’s facilities.
Coming off the heels of DPS and JBT, I was ready for a new challenge, something that offered meaningful contributions to a more sustainable economy. That’s when I met Tony and Leslie Wibbeler and learned about Bolder Industries and their revolutionary, signature product--BolderBlack®. At that time, we each had elementary school aged children learning about the perils of climate change. All three of us shared the belief that climate change was, and still is, one of the most significant responsibilities we must address for the sake of future generations.
My fortuitous conversation with the Wibbelers in 2015 led to the important work at Bolder Industries that I was hoping for. It was an exciting and promising new opportunity to focus on industrial-scale, climate change mitigation. As we parted ways that day, I remember being energized by the enormity of the favorable impact on climate change and natural resource conservation that would accompany the large-scale industrial adoption of BolderBlack.
In addition to having great engineering and business leadership skills, Tony is a natural salesman. Even in the bright light of that beautiful fall day, his eyes lit up when he explained that substituting just one thousand pounds of Bolder Industries’ signature product, abandoned tire-derived BolderBlack, for virgin carbon black in black rubber and plastic products would save 147 tires from landfilling, 11,000 gallons of water and 1 car’s worth of yearly emissions.
When compared to virgin carbon black, BolderBlack uses 98% less water, 61% less electricity, 97% less CO2 and on top of that it creates jobs and saves money.
Tony also pointed out that “there are over 350 million abandoned vehicle tires in the U.S. every year. Our initial BolderBlack manufacturing facility in Maryville, MO will use over 2 million of those tires each year to make BolderBlack, high quality oil and natural gas to power our plant—keeping those tires out of landfills and industrial kilns.”
The numbers Tony described that day at the bus stop have been substantiated, and BolderBlack is a sustainability home run and game-changer. Our first industrial-scale plant in Maryville is operating 24-7-330, with annual production capacity of 6,700 tons of BolderBlack. The reduced water, energy use, and CO2 emissions realized when this quantity of BolderBlack is substituted for virgin carbon black in black rubber and plastic products is enormous---160M gallons of water saved, 17M kilowatt hours of electricity saved, and 50,000 tons of CO2 not emitted into the atmosphere.
Learning that these massive environmental savings were not only real, but also offered an opportunity to partner with virgin black companies to provide sustainable alternatives was an incredible insight. BolderBlack Inside was born out of this insight. Today Bolder Industries offers pre-blended mixes of eco-friendly virgin black.
Tony, Leslie and the entire team are committed to accomplishing Bolder Industries’ sustainability mission. We’re laser-focused on realizing the promise of BolderBlack within an emerging circular economy to slow climate change and repurpose industrial chemicals for additional uses.
Each day that passes, I feel lucky to have had that conversation with Tony and Leslie about the sustainability promise of BolderBlack and the privilege of working as the Director of Sustainability at Bolder Industries to bring its promise to fruition. I owe it to this generation of kids and their kids to work as hard as possible to persuade companies to use that game-changing, abandoned tire-derived chemical, BolderBlack.
- Ken Dunn
Director of Sustainability, Bolder Industries
Article: courtesy of Bolder Industries.