Every year, 1.5 billion tires reach the end of their life. The vast majority get dumped or incinerated, releasing massive amounts of CO2 and destroying highly valuable resources. To solve this waste tire problem, Black Bear has developed a unique carbonization process to transform used tires into recovered Carbon Black (rCB). The company has now successfully closed a growth funding round of 11 million Euros to refine the environmentally-friendly process and to start the worldwide roll-out of the technology. This brings the Dutch cleantech company a crucial step closer to bringing the circular economy to tires.
Four new partners have become stakeholders: the largest Dutch banking corporation ING Group, two Netherlands-based investment firms 5square and Social Impact Ventures, as well as the conglomerate SCG from Thailand (Asia). “This new consortium means much more than just fresh capital”, says CEO Martijn Lopes Cardozo, “they are strategic partners, who will play a key role in the development of our technology and who will speed up our international roll-out.” Existing investors, including the original funders Chemelot Ventures and DOEN Participaties (Ventures), have also contributed to the round.
Black Bear’s industrial-scale prototype plant is located in Nederweert, The Netherlands. It is capable of processing more than 1 million waste tires annually, producing 5000 tonnes of Carbon Black, 5000 tonnes of bio-fuel, 3000 tonnes of steel and one megawatt hour of green electricity. The plant is operated in partnership with Kargro, one of Europe’s foremost recyclers of tires.
Carbon Black is vital for the production of tires, technical rubber goods, inks and coatings. It is found in the ink of pens, smartphone covers or in anything painted black, but, unfortunately, Carbon Black is traditionally produced by burning oil. However, tires contain about 30 per cent Carbon Black — and an opportunity. Black Bear now offers the first Cradle-to-Cradle Certified™ recovered Carbon Black to customers worldwide.