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Bridgestone & Michelin Team Up on Carbon Black Initiative

As part of the joint initiative, Bridgestone and Michelin will lead the development of a position paper that will outline the tire industry’s role in achieving a circular economy.

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Bridgestone Corporation and Michelin Group will deliver a shared perspective regarding material circularity and the ambition to increase the utilization of recovered carbon black material in tires. The joint presentation will take place at the Smithers Recovered Carbon Black Conference in Amsterdam on November 22, 2021.

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Michelin said an estimated one billion tires around the world reach the end of their useful service life every year. Many of the technical challenges surrounding the use of recycled and recovered materials from end-of-life tires are understood, but barriers remain toward achieving material circularity at the scale necessary to realize a more sustainable mobility ecosystem. Today, less than one percent of all carbon black material used globally in new tire production comes from recycled end-of-life tires due to a weak supply pipeline for the recovery and reuse of carbon black, Michelin says.

Recovered carbon black presents the opportunity to reduce the tire industry’s reliance on petrochemicals by replacing a portion of traditional carbon black with a sustainable and circular alternative without introducing performance tradeoffs, according to Michelin. Additionally, using recovered carbon black in new tire production reduces CO2 emissions by up to 85% compared to virgin materials.

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At the conference, the two companies will outline a path aimed at promoting and increasing the utilization of recovered carbon black in new tires and other rubber products. Collaboration with stakeholders across all aspects of the tire and rubber industry value chain will be needed to deliver this goal, Michelin says. As such, Michelin and Bridgestone are seeking to establish a coalition of a diverse group of stakeholders, including tire manufacturers, carbon black suppliers, pyrolysis partners and emerging technology startups to accelerate progress and increase supply of recovered carbon black.

As part of the joint initiative, Bridgestone and Michelin will lead the development of a position paper that will outline the tire industry’s role in achieving a circular economy. Later in 2022, the companies will release a white paper to outline the technical requirements, characteristics and proposed solutions to increase the utilization of recovered carbon black in new tires.

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