The problem of disposal of tires that have reached the end of their lives is an age old one. On an annual basis, 1.5 billion tires need to be disposed of. Most of these tires either get dumped or incinerated, causing great damage to the environment with CO₂ emissions and using up valuable resources.
Black Bear has developed a special carbonization process that can help recover carbon black from used tires. The company has successfully completed a growth funding round of USD 12.8 million to further refine the environmentally friendly process and rollout the technology on a global scale.
Blackbear has taken on four new partners in the venture, including Dutch banking corporation ING Group, two Netherlands-based investment firms named 5square and Social Impact Ventures and the Thai conglomerate SCG.
Commenting on this development, Black Bear CEO Martijn Lopes Cardozo said that the members of the new consortium will work together as a team not just when it comes to infusion of capital but also as strategic partners, who will play a key role in development of the new technology and expedite its global roll-out. The consortium also includes Blackbear’s existing investors, including the original funders Chemelot Ventures and DOEN Participaties (Ventures).
Black Bear’s industrial-scale prototype plant for the process is located in Nederweert in the Netherlands and it has the capacity to process over one million waste tires every year. 5,000 tons of carbon black, 5,000 tons of bio-fuel, 3,000 tons of steel and 1MW hour of green electricity will be obtained as the byproducts of this process. Black Bear will operate the plant in partnership with Kargro, which is one of the leading recyclers of tires in Europe.
Mark Weustink, director of the corporate investment team at ING Group, said that it was remarkable how Black Bear developed the technology to generate energy while converting old tires into a very high-value product. Black Bear has already won some large clients such as AkzoNobel.”
Cholanat Yanaranop, president of the chemicals business at SCG said that the company was highly committed to the circular economy and Black Bear was helping to solve a global problem. The new technology will significantly improve the carbon footprint of carbon black production.
Helmer Schukken, co-founder and partner at Social Impact Ventures, said that his company believed in the huge positive environmental impact of the technology, especially as the carbon black produced using the technology is as good as virgin carbon black in terms of cost price and quality. Another reason Social Impact Ventures invested the funding round was that Black Bear’s great management team, which includes highly experienced professionals in the fields of sales, finance and other functions required for global roll-out in addition to talented engineers.
Mark Gitsels, founder and partner at 5square, added, “When you really think about it, it’s unbelievable that only 10% of our resources are currently part of circular economies. That’s why we full-heartedly support the outstanding management team of Black Bear. Their disruptive technology is an opportunity for us to help make the world that bit better and at the same time yield attractive returns.”
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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