Each year more than 2 billion tyres reach the end of their life, creating more than 13.5 million tons of solid waste. The waste tyres, also known as ‘End-of-Life-Tyres’ (ELTs), contain around 20 to 25 per cent of high-quality carbon black.
Instead of wasting a significant amount of carbon black, Utrecht-based startup, Black Bear Carbon, has come up with a sustainable solution.
The Dutch startup provides a circular solution for this waste stream by harvesting the valuable materials inside tyres, technical rubber products, plastics, paint, and ink. With each installation, Black Bear Carbon saves more carbon dioxide than 3 million trees consume, claims the company.
Recently, the Black Bear Carbon has completed a first closing of €7.5M, the first step in a fundraising campaign of €78M for its new BBC flagship plant at Chemelot Industrial Park, the Netherlands.
The investment round was led by Capricorn Partners from the Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund, with support from Invest-NL, joined by current investors; Brightlands Venture Partners, Siam Cement Chemicals, and others.
Invest-NL is providing a €2.5M convertible loan. The transaction is supported by the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.
“This financing is a crucial first step to allow the BBC to scale up production and contribute to the development of a circular economy. We are delighted, this funding round couldn’t have come at a better moment. It marks the belief of our investors, partners, and employees in our mission and strategy”, Silvio Ghyoot, CEO of BBC says.
It’s worth mentioning here that the company’s first demo plant was destroyed in a fire in February 2019. The new flagship plant is expected to be operational by mid-2023.
Produces carbon black sustainably
Founded by Christopher Twigg, Black Bear Carbon recovers carbon black from used tires cleanly and sustainably. According to the company, Carbon black is usually produced by burning fossil fuels and therefore emitting large amounts of CO2.
On the other hand, the Dutch company produces carbon black by extracting it from waste tyres and converting the remains of the tyres into oil and gas.
These green energy sources can be converted to heat, electricity, or steam, and they provide an additional income stream to our business model, claims the company.
Black Bear Carbon plans to lead the transition towards a circular economy for tires by rolling out hundreds of tire upcycling plants with local partners around the world, focusing on Europe for its next plants.