DES MOINES, Iowa — Bridgestone Americas Inc. has begun at-scale use of recovered carbon black (rCB) in tire production, beginning with its agricultural tire plant in Des Moines, the company said recently.
Bridgestone has a long-standing partnership with Natchez, Miss.-based Delta-Energy Group L.L.C. and is using Delta-Energy's proprietary product, D-E Black, as its sole source of rCB in Des Moines, Bridgestone said.
D-E Black, like all rCBs, is recovered from scrap tires and retains a structure similar to that of virgin carbon black, allowing it to be used as a partial replacement for virgin black in tires, the tire maker said.
Delta-Energy's patented, catalyst-driven DEPolymerization process is the first to produce rCB that has commercial market application for reinforcing rubber compounds, according to Bridgestone.
DEPolymerization also emits 81% less carbon dioxide per ton than virgin carbon black produced by a furnace reactor, it said.
To date, Bridgestone said, it has purchased approximately 215 metric tons of Delta-Energy's rCB, the equivalent of about 64,000 end-of-life tires. This reduced carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 765,000 pounds compared with using virgin black, it said.
The company plans to use some 6,800 metric tons of Delta-Energy rCB by the end of 2020, according to Bridgestone. This is equivalent to about 2 million end-of-life tires and a reduction of some 24 million pounds of carbon emissions, enough to power nearly 2,000 homes or more than 2,300 passenger vehicles for a year, the company said.
Bridgestone began evaluating Delta-Energy's products in 2007 and became an equity partner in 2014. In 2017, when Castleton Commodities International L.L.C. purchased a majority interest in Delta-Energy, Bridgestone because an active majority investor in the rCB maker.
The deal with Delta-Energy marks a significant milestone in Bridgestone group's long-term commitment to using 100% sustainable materials and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 50% by 2050, the company said.
It also serves Bridgestone's larger mission to drive toward a circular economy that eliminates waste that eliminates waste through the continual use of resources, it said.
"Bridgestone Group is deeply committed to advancing an environmentally sustainable society by supporting a truly circular economy," said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer for Bridgestone Americas.
"Through this partnership with Delta-Energy Group, we hope to shape the future of our industry and ensure efficient mobility solutions for generations to come," Mr. Trigui said.
Bridgestone is the only tire customer thus far for Delta-Energy, according to the tire maker.
"However, the vision for the investment made by Bridgestone is to benefit the entire rubber industry, in service of a larger mission of driving toward a circular economy," it said.
"We anticipate Delta-Energy Group will continue to increase its ability to scale through an expanded production footprint as demand for recovered carbon black grows," Bridgestone said.
Among Bridgestone's other activities toward creating a circular economy is its continued development of guayule rubber at its Biorubber Process Research Center in Mesa, Ariz., the company said. It continues to explore partnerships with universities and non-governmental organizations to advance guayule R&D, it said.