Bridgestone is partnering with Carbon Capture and Transformation company LanzaTech to develop a scaled solution for recycling end-of-life tires. The two companies will co-develop an end-of-life tire recycling process leveraging LanzaTech’s CCT technology, creating a pathway toward tire material circularity and the decarbonization of new tire production.
According to the Tire Industry Project operating under the umbrella of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), more than one billion tires globally reach the end of their useful service life each year. Bridgestone and LanzaTech will work to address this issue by converting end-of-life tires into new materials, including exploring processes to create sustainable synthetic rubber that does not rely on petrochemicals.
Bridgestone and LanzaTech seek to develop a new business model that will drive increased adoption of sustainably sourced chemicals for commercial applications. Applying LanzaTech’s carbon capture and gas fermentation process to end-of-life tires yields sustainably produced chemicals such as ethanol that can be converted to materials such as PET for packaging, polyester yarn and surfactants used in consumer home goods like laundry detergent. In addition, Bridgestone and LanzaTech will jointly explore opportunities to co-develop proprietary microbe technology to produce more efficient pathways to produce butadiene, a key ingredient in new tire production, realizing true circularity for end-of-life tires.
Bridgestone is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality and make tires from 100% renewable materials by 2050. The company is actively researching a range of solutions to support the recycling of materials from end-of-life tires and promote the replacement of non-renewable materials such as oil, silica and virgin carbon black in new tires.
Last year, Michelin started construction on a tire recycling plant to achieve similar goals. Michelin’s new-generation recycling plant will support the circular economy with innovative recycling processes. Scrap tires will be collected directly from customer premises, then transported to the plant to be cut up and recycled.
As Bridgestone works to create an end-of-life recycling solution, other companies are working to develop tires from sustainable materials. Goodyear is developing a tire from a domestic source of natural rubber produced from dandelions. The multiyear, multi-million dollar program is using a specific species of dandelion called Taraxacum kok-saghyz, also known as TK, and rubber produced from the plant will be used to make military aircraft tires.