AKRON—The carbon black industry, which sees about 94 percent of its global demand from tire and non-tire rubber manufacturing companies, has yet to reach true, commercially viable, more sustainable production methods.
That is, outside of recovered carbon black, which is the only process that has reached an industrialized scale.
But even that method has a ways to go.
As it stands today, less than 1 percent of all carbon black material used globally in new tire production comes from recycled, end-of-life tires, due primarily to a weak supply pipeline for the recovery and reuse of the critical performance additive.
And keeping the price point viable for the consumer, with all of the often costly upstream sustainability efforts, remains one of the major hurdles for tire manufacturers attempting to be net zero by 2050.
"Experts in the market believe sustainability by itself will never advance to a critical scale," Janine Young, commissioning editor for the information division of Smithers, told Rubber News. "They emphasize it must be partnered with cost reduction and performance to deliver on the 2050 sustainability goals established by the tire industry."