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Recycling of end-of-life tyres by pyrolysis can lower use of fossil raw materials and reduce CO2 emissions.

Continental has signed a development agreement with Pyrum Innovations, a specialist in the pyrolysis of end-of-life tyres. The aim of the collaboration is to further optimize 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 by 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 from the premium manufacturer to Pyrum as early as March 2022. In the long term, the 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.

Continental says 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 percent.

Claus Petschick, Head of Sustainability Continental Tyres says that sustainable materials and circular economy are an important part of Continental’s sustainability strategy. “End-of-life tyres are a raw material for Continental in the wrong place. We believe that circular economy is the model of the future. Modern, highly efficient pyrolysis processes are very important to us in this regard,” he says.

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“As part of our ambitious sustainability strategy, we will increase the use of sustainable materials in our tyre products to 100 percent 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.”