Carbon black is the result of the controlled combustion of either oil or gas. During the combustion, the unburnt char forms an extremely fine and fluffy powder known as carbon black.

Carbon black is used as a reinforcing agent in many rubber compounds which are used to manufacture many consumer products that are now part of everyday life. Carbon black makes these products more durable and resistant. It is used in tires, computers, cell phones, car parts, roof shingles, asphalt, rubber hoses, conveyor belts and many many more.

Another use of carbon black is as a colorant in paints, inks and masterbatches for plastics, just to name a few. Basically, everything that is black has a form of carbon black in it.

The Situation

The process to produce carbon black is one of the most polluting on the planet and for this reason, many countries are curbing, restricting or outlawing its production. It is estimated that the global volume of carbon black in 2018 will approach 18 billion lbs. Its manufacturing will send approximately 45 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Consumption of carbon black will continue to increase, driven by two factors, the rising population and increased consumption per capita. Did you know that each person on the planet consumes approximately 3.75 lbs per year of carbon black and rising? Did you know that the number of manufactured cars is expected to double by the 2030s? (1) The global demand for new tires will increase from current 1.5 billion per year to 2.5 billion by the year 2030. (2)

It is expected these market dynamics coupled with limited supply will open new markets for recycled carbon black. Did you know that to manufacture the current 1.5 billion tires every year requires an estimated 10 billion lbs of carbon black that creates 25 million tons of greenhouse gases? Just imagine if most of the carbon black used in these tires was recovered, this could secure carbon black supply for the foreseeable future while reducing greenhouse gases by as much as 95%.

Ecolomondo’s Recovered Carbon Black

Ecolomondo’s recovered carbon black is of constant quality, thanks to TDP’s highly automated process control and its tightly controlled thermo-reaction parameters.

Key characteristics:

  • Average elemental particle size is 32 nm. This determines the base rating and this size allows a wide range of applications.
  • Dispersion rating is 9 (high) on a scale of 1-10 (ease of blending).
  • Ash content averages approximately 12%, which is considered low compared to other pyrolytic processes.
  • Agglomeration size is 5, 10 and 20 microns.
  • Pelletisation: 0.5-1.5 mm, using water as a binder.

Some applications in rubber products can use as much as 100% of recovered carbon black instead of virgin carbon black, in particular non-performance rated products such as rubber wheels for carts, bumpers, automobile mouldings and mechanical coverings like boots and shrouds. Recovered carbon black can also be used as a reinforcing filler and tinting agent for plastic products like masterbatches.

Slowly but surely, recovered carbon black is finding its way into more and more products. Recovered carbon black is gradually becoming more abundant in the market place, as new technologies such as Ecolomondo’s waste-to-products technology begin to commercialize.

Recovered carbon black is a lower cost alternative to virgin carbon black for many manufacturing applications. Ecolomondo’s TDP technology will play a fundamental role in resource recovery. Industry and recovered carbon black will ensure steady supplies of carbon black needed by manufacturers.

(1) Global Footprint Network
(2) McKinsey & Co