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Michelin and Bridgestone publicly announced their collaboration on developing the recovered carbon black on November 22 at the Smithers rCB Conference in Amsterdam. Sander Vermeulen of Michelin and Jake Ronsholt of Bridgestone took to the stage to discuss the role of pyrolysis in the tire recycling industry as well as the opportunities it presents. Vermeulen was apparent that pyrolysis had the potential to reduce the amount of fossil fuel utilized for virgin Carbon Black used in tires, but there were obstacles. Vermeulen was apparent that pyrolysis had the potential to reduce the amount of fossil fuel utilized for virgin Carbon Black used in tires, but there were obstacles. According to Vermeulen, many operators had demonstrated that industrial pyrolysis on a small scale could produce the needed rCB. However, when scaled up to major commercial operations, there was no uniformity and no standards, and there was a lack of consistency and specification.
The International Organization for Standardization (2008, 2013) defines chemical recycling as a production of new raw materials by changing the chemical structure of polymers (e.g., plastic, rubber) through depolymerization, excluding energy recovery and incineration. Whereby depolymerisation is understood as a reversion of a polymer to its monomer(s) or to a polymer of lower relative molecular mass. This irreversible chemical decomposition (depolymerization) in pyrolysis processes is caused solely by a rise in temperature in an inert or oxygen free environment (UIPAC, 2021).
GMN is one of Spain's largest tire recyclers, with its headquarters in Catalonia. According to the Agència de Residus de Catalunya, it operates in a market that generates some 40,000 tons per year in Catalonia alone. Spain's GMN continues to be a success story as it recycles its 7 millionth end-of-life tire. GMN has two facilities: one with 10,000 square meters in Manresa and the other with 40,000 square meters in Maials (Segrià). The initial stage involves collecting and sorting tires from Barcelona and Girona, which are then transported to Maials, where the manufacturing and offices are located. Lleida, Tarragona, and Huesca tires are also delivered here.