MUMBAI, India—Birla Carbon is preparing to launch bio-based rubber additives that are expected to improve both the performance of tires and their environmental impact.
Developed in partnership with Brazil-based cleantech company GranBio Technologies over the past four years, the nanocellulose dispersion composite rubber masterbatch is claimed to effectively disperse hydrophilic nanocellulose into hydrophobic rubber formulations.
In its 2021 sustainability report, published earlier this month, Birla said the partnership had been awarded $730,000 in grants to advance the industrial-scale factory and on-road tire trials.
As part of the project, the two companies will scale up the production of NDC at GranBio's biorefinery in Thomaston, Ga.
In addition, the funding will support the partners to prepare an engineering package, market analysis and financial modelling for the first NDC commercial plant.
Birla and GranBio initially announced the development of the filler material in 2020.
The product, according to Birla, improves tire rolling resistance and vehicle fuel economy through enabling the incorporation of bio-based nanocellulose into commercial rubber compounds.
At the time, the two sides claimed that the process overcomes traditional dispersion challenges by combining several "synergistic innovations," including GranBio's patented hydrophobic form of nanocellulose.
While increasing the use of renewable raw materials, the technology is claimed to offer advantages such as "easy dispersing as well as convenient & dust-free handling and integration into formulations."