Bolder, Rubber News previously reported, employs a unique process that takes scrap tires feedstock and uses 98 percent of the material. From one tire, Bolder can produce gas (10 percent); BolderOil (40 percent); BolderBlack (33 percent); and steel (15 percent).
In all, about 75 percent of the solids and liquids extracted from the recycled tires make their way back into new tires as well as other rubber and plastics products.
Once he had his plan in place, Wibbeler went all-in with the purchase of that bankrupt plant.
From there, Bolder just went and grew.
"I am happy to say that, today, we effectively take tires from every stage of their process—everything from somebody else's off-spec carbon black or messed up version of recovered carbon black to chips to single-pass shreds to whole tires," Wibbeler said. "And we manufacture multiple oil products."
Today that first plant not only is up and running, it's expanded.
Bolder operates in Marysville, Mo., where it has two reactors that run 24 hours a day. Additionally, in 2021, Bolder brought into the fold a 66,000-sq.-ft. production facility in Terre Haute, Ind.
Bolder also operates product development facilities in Punta Gorda, Fla., known as the Bledsoe Innovation Group, and Maryville, which is separate from the production space there.
But the key to all of that growth, Wibbeler said, is quality. Consistently.
"There is a certain way I create a recipe to make that happen. And it took a couple of years to dial that in," Wibbeler said. "That was not the easiest thing to get a consistency that somebody like Pirelli would actually pay attention to us."
There's good reason for that. Namely, if he doesn't do his job, tire makers—or other rubber product makers—using his recycled oils and blacks can't do theirs.
"If I am going to supply Michelin with a product, it better be exactly the same every day," Wibbeler said. "It can be whatever it is to start—they are really good at compounding, so trust me, they can get a lot of different things in their tire to make it work. But boy, if you say, 'I am going to send you this,' it better be identical every day.
And part of that starts with feedstock."
So Wibbeler set out to source some of the best possible feedstock.
That's when he found Liberty Tire.