Bridgestone is not any stranger to recycling tires.
For years, the corporate has collected used tires and repurposed their element elements. Typically they’re became rubberized asphalt, typically building supplies or mulch, typically burned for gas. There’s only one downside: Loads of carbon is usually emitted alongside the way in which. Melting tires down for the cement industry, for instance, releases one hundred pc of the carbon in that tire again into the ambiance.
So Bridgestone, with a renewed company-wide focus on sustainability, is utilizing a special technique to create tires from recycled materials. By means of a partnership with LanzaTech, the world’s largest tire manufacturer is scaling up a closed-looped system that makes use of micro organism to interrupt down the rubber, seize carbon and create the uncooked materials for brand spanking new rubber.
“We’re taking a look at finishing that circle to carry that materials again to creating your tire,” mentioned Nizar Trigui, Bridgestone’s chief know-how officer. He’s spent the previous 30 years within the mobility and tech companies, with greater than 20 years at Ford Motor Co. Now he’s main Bridgestone’s sustainable enterprise transformation.
LanzaTech’s innovation is in changing waste supplies to ethanol, which is often sourced from recent fossil fuels-related carbon. It has turned metal mill emissions into Zara attire and laundry detergent. With Bridgestone, LanzaTech shall be turning tires into ethanol, which might then be became tires once more.
Right here’s the way it works: LanzaTech will partially gasify the tires, producing carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Then, it can introduce micro organism that feeds on these gases and creates new ethanol, with out dropping carbon alongside the way in which.
“We’ve been actually eager on closed-loop techniques,” mentioned Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech. “We imagine that post-consumer waste, manufacturing waste are issues that have to be put again into the cycle.”
Trigui mentioned the partnership with LanzaTech is a part of a much wider sustainability technique at Bridgestone. “It was all about rising or evolving past simply being the No. 1 tire firm of the world,” he mentioned. “We aspire to be the world main sustainable options firm.”
We imagine that post-consumer waste, manufacturing waste are issues that have to be put again into the cycle.
Bridgestone has dedicated to carbon neutrality by 2050 and likewise needs to achieve one hundred pc materials circulatity by that point. That shall be completed by way of a lot of methods, Trigui mentioned. The corporate is taking a look at power effectivity in its factories, new applied sciences to increase the lifetime of tires and fleet administration software program that would maximize tire efficiency and, once more, prolong their life. And when the tires are finished, applied sciences reminiscent of LanzaTech will are available in to recycle and reuse the fabric.
“We’re actually taking a look at each facet,” Trigui mentioned. Bridgestone additionally just lately launched its “E8 Commitment,” a set of values to information its sustainability commitments over the approaching many years. “That’s going to drive all the things that we do sooner or later,” he mentioned.
However Trigui mentioned these new methods are usually not merely about sustainability — they’re additionally about boosting buyer satisfaction and the underside line. He mentioned the LanzaTech partnership shall be a for-profit enterprise and that the brand new supplies shall be a “coveted” product that may assist Bridgestone develop.
The 2 corporations have executed a proof of idea at a “affordable scale,” Trigui mentioned, however are nonetheless engaged on full-scale deployment, which would require constructing out giant chemical amenities to course of thousands and thousands of tires a yr — nonetheless solely a fraction of the billions of tires that attain the tip of their helpful life every year.
“It’s best to go away no tires behind so far as we’re involved,” mentioned Holmgren.
LanzaTech additionally has ambitions far past tires. It’s eyeing all sorts of feedstocks — biomass, attire, municipal waste, metal mill emissions and gases — as sustainable sources of carbon. And it has spun out an organization, LanzaJet, that can use waste sources to create ethanol and in the end sustainable aviation gas, one thing Holmgren sees as a step on the trail towards absolutely decarbonizing aviation.
As a result of such waste sources are ample, Holmgren mentioned it might allow particular person nations or municipalities to create their very own provide chains primarily based on what’s obtainable. (For extra on Holmgren’s technique, read this GreenBiz Q&A.)
“We prefer to say, no carbon left behind. We actually imagine all the things we use in our each day lives, from fuels to chemical compounds, can come from carbon that’s already above floor, making certain that carbon stays within the floor,” Holmgren mentioned.