They say that necessity is the mother of invention.
The proverb denotes a certain circularity, the notion that need drives creation and solutions are found in the face of great odds.
It may be circularity of another sort—recovered carbon black from tire pyrolysis—that helps solve a major raw material supply problem for tire manufacturers and rubber processors with facilities in Europe.
About 54 percent of the continent's production capacity of carbon black—and about one third of its overall supply—comes from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, amounts that are not easily replaced if Russia's invasion of Ukraine and resulting global sanctions choke off this raw material completely from the region.
Imports from countries outside Europe (and Russia) remain an option.
Manufacturers can look to Saudi Arabia, India and China, the latter being the world's largest producer of carbon black. But with the high price of coal tar, a main feedstock for much of the carbon black (and steel) produced in China, such imports are untenable, analysts say.
And with freight costs and other inflationary pressures that have been part of the supply chain since long before Russia invaded Ukraine, imports of legacy carbon black from the Middle East and India have their own drawbacks.
But one option that is gaining momentum outside of virgin carbon black production is recovered carbon black from tire pyrolysis, an innovative industry that has seen enormous interest as supply from eastern Europe dwindles.