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Continental and Pyrum expanding circular economy of tyres

Continental is consistently expanding its activities in the area of circular economy. Now, the tyre maker has signed a development agreement with Pyrum Innovations, a specialist in the pyrolysis of end-of-life tyres.

It says the aim of the collaboration is to further optimise and expand the recycling of end-of-life tyres through pyrolysis.

In the future, among other things, particularly high-quality recovered carbon black (rCB) is to be obtained for tyre production of Continental.

Carbon black is an important component of many tyre compounds. By using high-quality carbon black, the performance of tyres can be specifically improved.

Continental’s subsidiary, Reifen-Entsorgungsgesellschaft (REG), will begin supplying end-of-life tyres to Pyrum as early as this month.

Continental adds that the long term aim is to establish a circular economy concept for the recycling of end-of-life tyres. Since Pyrum’s IPO in 2021, Continental has already held a strategic minority stake in the company.

“We have been in close exchange with Continental for some time and are looking forward to further expanding our collaboration with this agreement,” said Pascal Klein, CEO of Pyrum Innovations. “Our business model is already fully sustainable. Together with Continental, we now want to go the next step towards a sustainable tyre industry.”

Industrial carbon black is an important resource used in tyre production and in the manufacture of other industrial rubber products. Carbon black recovered from end-of-life tyres saves fossil raw materials and will contribute significantly to reducing CO2 emissions.

The specific use of carbon black in rubber compounds increases the stability, strength and durability of tyres. In a standard passenger car tyre, the amount of carbon black to which tyres owe their black colour is 15-20 per cent.

Sustainable materials and circular economy are an important part of Continental’s sustainability strategy, according to Claus Petschick, head of sustainability at Continental Tires.

“End-of-life tyres are a raw material for Continental in the wrong place,” he said. “We believe that circular economy is the model of the future. Modern, highly efficient pyrolysis processes are very important to us in this regard.

“As part of our ambitious sustainability strategy, we will increase the use of sustainable materials in our tyre products to 100 per cent by 2050 at the latest, for which recycled materials will make a significant contribution. As part of a closed-loop system, tyres will in future become the starting material for new tyres.”