Partnership marks another milestone ahead of Wastefront’s Sunderland plant construction
11 May 2023 – Oslo/Sunderland/Hamburg: Wastefront (www.wastefront.com), the Norwegian waste tyre recycling company, today announces that one of Europe’s largest distributors of products for the rubber industry, Weber & Schaer (www.weber-schaer.com/en) has signed a strategic offtake and on-sale agreement for their Recovered Carbon Black (rCB). The agreement secures Wastefront’s ground-breaking and fully circular supply chain for the UK’s end-of-life tyres (ELTs) and is for a minimum of 35% of the rCB produced at Wastefront’s £100 million Sunderland plant, with the opportunity to further scale up in the future.
By manufacturing renewable fuels from ELTs and rCB to produce new tyres, alongside the rubber and plastic products produced by Weber & Schaer’s clients, Wastefront’s mission to create a Green Global Industrial Platform is now close to complete. Specialising in rubber, carbon black, plastic and adhesives distribution, Weber & Schaer has nine warehouses in Europe – in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain – ensuring Wastefront’s ELT solution benefits the global circular economy as they expand into new markets and increase capacity.
The domestic production of rCB is vital given the EU sanctions limiting imports of carbon black from Russia. A sizable amount of the carbon black utilised in Europe is produced in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (around 700,000 tonnes of carbon black is exported from Russia alone each year). According to a 2022 report by Fortune Business Insight, the global carbon black market is projected to grow from $13bn in 2022 to $18bn by 2029.
Since its inception, Wastefront has signed pivotal agreements to develop an entirely new, global circular supply chain. Notably, Wastefront signed agreements in 2020 with energy and commodities company Vitol for a 10-year offtake agreement for the production of liquid hydrocarbons and certain non-liquid products, and in 2022 with French engineering and technology company Technip Energies, as its engineering, procurement and construction partner for the Sunderland plant buildout.
Additional agreements have been signed with Gateway Resources, an independent trading house that is involved in the procurement, logistics, financing and distribution of a diverse portfolio of commodities pertaining to the manufacturing and recycling industry, and to guarantee the supply of ELTs and an offtake agreement with UK-based electric vehicle tire manufacturer ENSO, to provide a recycling outlet for its used tires. As such, Wastefront has now built a blueprint ready to scale beyond the Sunderland plant with a Green Global Industrial Platform and are set to offtake and on-sale of their rCB globally.
Vianney Vales, CEO of Wastefront commented: “Our agreement with Weber & Schaer is a decisive step towards our goal of ending the pollution caused by End of Life Tyres (ELT), through the creation of a circular economy. Wastefront Green Global Industrial Platform is now markedly stronger with the addition of Weber & Schaer’s unique technical and market competences to distribute recycled Carbon Black (rCB). In times of unrest in Europe where the historic supply chain of rCB has been challenged, this agreement gives the UK a world leading position in the supply of rCB as well as in solving this waste issue. We are proud to be at the forefront of such an industrial revolution. This deal is a game changing agreement for us as we build out our Green Global Industrial Platform.”
René Marc Weber, Managing Partner of Weber & Schaer, commented: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Wastefront towards the distribution of recovered carbon blacks in Europe. This newly formed alliance represents a huge milestone for us as we continue to focus on environmental sustainability. As a leader in the rubber industry distribution, our commitment to sustainable solutions aligns with our partners’ approach, and we believe that together we can make a significant impact towards a greener future creating value from end of life tires. Our new partnership will enable us to further improve our eco-friendly product offerings, incorporating innovative technologies to reduce the environmental footprint of our customers’ rubber products.”
In addition to Wastefront’s work to complete its circular supply chain, the company is also undertaking key research and development initiatives with partners including Hulteberg and Newcastle University to further optimise their processes. HYFUEL, in partnership with Hulteberg, a leading Swedish chemical engineering company, is a groundbreaking oil purification project dedicated to developing a novel catalyst approach to purify pyrolysis oil extracted from ELTs creates biofuels from tire derived oil (TDO), while together with Newcastle University Wastefront is undertaking a study into the characterisation and enhancement of Wastefront’s rCB.
Cedric Bissuel, Product Manager at Weber & Schaer, added: “We are confident that our combined expertise in the rubber industry, coupled with our shared commitment to sustainability, will strengthen our position as a responsible Enterprise and improve our capability to deliver high-quality and sustainable products for our customers. We look forward to a fruitful partnership with Wastefront, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to doing our part to achieve a more sustainable future.”
Wastefront uses pyrolytic reactors that utilise thermal depolymerization known as ‘pyrolysis’ to break down a tyre’s materials at elevated temperatures. By sending tyres through these reactors, rCB is produced, in addition to combustible gas, liquid hydrocarbon, and heat. The carbon black is then washed and milled to upgrade the chemical properties and used as a reinforcement for natural rubber in tyre production, mechanical rubber goods or as a filler for plastics.
Once fully operational in 2025, Wastefront’s £100 million tyre recycling plant in Sunderland will produce rCB from a supply of 20% of the UK’s yearly total of ELTs. By integrating Wastefront’s rCB into new tyres, the emissions for each tyre subsequently produced will be reduced by 80%.
Wastefront’s Sunderland plant alone will process around 80,000 tonnes of ELTS per year once at full capacity, mitigating pollution generated by landfilling or incinerating tyres and eliminating emissions of 1,800,000 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime. The plant will generate its own sustainable power, further aiding the reduction in emissions, and produce useful low carbon fuels for maritime transportation, alongside rCB.
Wastefront was founded in Oslo in 2019 and aims to reduce the negative environmental impact associated with end-of-life-tyre waste while delivering an economically attractive solution to strategic partners on a global scale. Wastefront combines commercial technology with its own proprietary process to minimise the environmental impact typically associated with traditional tyre pyrolysis, with an exceptionally circular process. Its first full-scale £100mn plant in Sunderland will have the capacity to process 80,000 metric tonnes of ELTs annually and convert them into useful commodities including biofuels, recycled steel and recovered carbon black.
Wastefront recently received funding from the Eurostars Eureka program, the Norwegian state-owned company and national development bank Innovation Norway, Vitol, and is supported by government agency, The Research Council of Norway (Skattefunn). The company will be raising investment from UK, Nordic and International investors, in order to facilitate the construction of the plant.
About Weber & Schaer
Weber & Schaer is a well-established distribution company based in Hamburg, Germany, specialised in rubber and plastic industries. Weber & Schaer offers a full range of raw materials, from natural rubber to synthetic rubbers as well as fillers or chemicals. The company serves a variety of customers across different industries, including automotive, construction, aerospace, and medical equipment manufacturing. It has an extensive network of suppliers and logistics partners and delivers products to customers across the globe. Weber & Schaer prioritises customer satisfaction and strives to provide excellent customer service by means of prompt delivery, technical support, commercial flexibility and tailored solution offerings.
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