End-of-life tire recycling—think: carbon black and pyrolysis oil extraction—is poised to scale up in ways it never has before.
Michelin-backed Enviro JV to build 'world's first large-scale' tire recycling group
A newly formed joint venture between Scandinavian Enviro Systems A.B. and Antin Infrastructure Partners looks to bring online recycling capacity for 1 million tons of end-of-life tires by 2030. It's a vision and joint venture that Michelin has thrown its full support behind.
And together, the three companies said in a joint news release, they are poised to build "the world's first large-scale recycling group." To do so, they will lean into Enviro and the circular tire expertise it has built.
The first full-scale commercial plant will be established in Uddevalla, Sweden. With yearly capacity set for around 34,500 ELT, the plant would be able to account for about 40 percent of Sweden's annually discarded tires.
Construction on the facility is set to begin in the first half of this year. It likely will be operational by 2025.
With the Uddevalla plant up and running, the JV will be able to focus its attention on the "acceleration of the European roll-out." To ensure the expansion happens quickly, site selection for additional plants has begun.
And the JV has secured a multi-year supply agreement with Michelin for the first plants established. The agreement includes delivery of recovered carbon black and tire pyrolysis oil.
For its part, Antin, a private equity firm focused on infrastructure investment, brings expertise in scaling infrastructure platforms. It will back the project with funding from its NextGen platform and take a majority stake in the JV.
Enviro's ownership of the JV will be around 30 percent, according to the firms.
"I am very proud and pleased with today's announcement, which represents a significant recognition of Enviro's technological and market leadership in recycling of tires," Enviro Chairman Alf Blomqvist said in a statement. "With Antin's successful track record in scaling infrastructure platforms and its strong industrial understanding, and Michelin's leading position in sustainable tires, we have found excellent partners to jointly accelerate our pan-European plant expansion and contribute to making the tire industry circular."
Sustainability is at the heart of Michelin's vision, one built around an all-sustainable pledge to consider people, profit and planet in every aspect of its business.
And with that in mind, the tire maker has established a number of short- and long-term goals to focus its efforts and ensure its path forward. Among them is bringing to market by 2050 a tire that contains 100-percent sustainable materials.
It also intends to ensure that the performance and manufacturing of its tires do not negatively impact the environment.
The partnership with Enviro—and the newly established JV—will go a long way in helping to meet those goals. Ultimately, Michelin said, the JV will provide sustainable—and sustainably manufactured—raw materials such as recycled carbon black and oils, ensuring a feedstock for the tire maker across Europe once the JV has grown to scale.
"Today's announcement is a significant step in our ambition to achieve a circular and more sustainable tire production," Maude Portigliatti, Michelin executive vice president of high tech materials and a member of the Group Executive Committee, said in a statement. "This is further proof of Michelin's ability to step up to achieve its 2050 strategic ambitions and reduce the tire's overall environmental impact by forging innovative partnerships for an ever more circular industry."
Michelin estimates that by replacing virgin carbon black with Enviro's recycled carbon black, it can reduce carbon emissions by more than 90 percent when compared to conventional carbon black.
And with the JV set to recycle 1 million metric tons of ELT, that could equate to the reduction of the industry's carbon dioxide emissions by 670,000 tons each year.
"Enviro's patented pyrolysis technology and its highly experienced management team, combined with Michelin's world leading position in sustainable tires, makes this an ideal platform," Anand Jagannathan and Rodolphe Brumm, NextGen Partners at Antin Infrastructure Partners, said in a joint statement. "Antin has always been at the forefront of identifying key areas of tomorrow's infrastructure, and we believe this JV will play a critical role in accelerating Europe's circular economy."
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