LD Carbon, a Seoul-based producer of recovered carbon black (rCB), has closed a $28 million Series C funding round led by Toyota's growth fund, Woven Capital, with participation by Meritz Securities, Investwith, Industrial Bank of Korea, Hyundai Motor Group Zer01ne, Elohim Partners and New Main Capital.

LD Carbon will use the investment to scale operations to recycle end-of-life tires and materials from end-of-life vehicles into rCB and tire pyrolysis oil (TPO) through pyrolysis, which can be used to create new automotive parts and tires. The company says the investment will advance its mission of accelerating the circular economy while delivering material cost and carbon savings to global customers.

"Our mission is to dramatically improve the sustainability profile of the automotive industry, while lowering costs," says LD Carbon CEO and co-founder Seong Mun Baek. "Partnering with Woven Capital and other strategic investors will give us invaluable insights into scaling operations to support global OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] as they seek to offer more sustainable vehicles to discerning consumers and business customers. Together, we can ensure [the automotive industry] and its related industries are more environmentally friendly than ever, while meeting high standards for cost and performance."

According to LD Carbon, manufacturing carbon black generates 25 million metric tons (approximately 27,550,000 tons) of CO2 annually. The company says the burning of waste tires accounts for another 1.6 million metric tons (approximately 1,763,200 tons) of CO2.

LD Carbon says its pyrolysis and material recovery process uses patented rCB manufacturing technology to provide nearly 100 percent recovery of waste tires.

"LD Carbon is solving a tough chemistry problem that continues to challenge manufactures across the automoteve supply chain as they face increasing pressure to embrace sustainability goals," says Prashant Bothra, Woven Capital principal and LD Carbon board member.

"With a major plant under construction, the company is scaling their proven technology to maximize productivity and reduce the cost of creating high-performance recovered carbon black, offering substantial value compared to virgin materials. With regulatory and corporate tailwinds, a strong sales pipeline and a first-mover advantage in Asia, we believe LD Carbon is well-positioned to play an important role in the sustainable future."

LD Carbon's plant in Gimcheon, South Korea, has an annual capacity of more than 7,000 tons of rCB, which it then supplies to tire and rubber manufacturers. The company has secured a 10-year supply agreement with SK Incheon Petrochemicals for its TPO.

LD Carbon also is investing in the construction of a tire pyrolysis plant in Dangjin City, South Korea, with completion slated for later this year. Its annual capacity reportedly will be 50,000 tons of end-of-life tires turned into 22,000 tons of TPO, 18,000 tons of rCB and 10,000 tons of other materials. LD Carbon says it is co-developing key product specifications alongside several global tire makers and industry leaders.

Press release by LD Carbon.