Orion invests in French tyre recycling facility

Speciality chemicals firm Orion S.A. says it is investing in Alpha Carbone, a French tyre recycling company. The partnership will enable Alpha Carbone to scale up and produce commercial volumes of tyre pyrolysis oil and recovered carbon black.

The cooperation also includes a long-term supply agreement with Orion as the exclusive customer for the tire pyrolysis oil produced by Alpha Carbone. The oil will be used by Orion to manufacture circular carbon black for tyre and rubber goods customers.

“This investment enables Orion to make large-scale volumes of circular grades of carbon black for our rubber customers who are seeking sustainable solutions,” Orion CEO Corning Painter said. “It further strengthens Orion’s position as an innovator focused on the future and accelerating the transition to a circular economy.”

An estimated 500,000 tonnes/year of tyres are discarded in France. For years, Orion has been working closely with major tyre companies to develop circular carbon black. Tyre pyrolysis is the only proven technology to produce circular carbon black that can be used in new tyres.

Alpha Carbone’s tyre pyrolysis process takes the discarded end-of-life tyres and exposes them to high temperatures, removing wire, mesh and other materials. The process also reduces the tyres to synthetic gas, recovered carbon black and tyre pyrolysis oil.

Orion claims it is the only company that has made circular carbon black from 100% tire pyrolysis oil as a feedstock. The company has also demonstrated that its circular products can replace virgin carbon black in many applications.

Alpha Carbone’s plant is expected to start up in late 2025. Besides the pyrolysis oil supplied to Orion, Alpha Carbone will sell the recovered carbon black to its own customers primarily under long-term contracts.

“This investment will allow Alpha Carbone to bring its Dole, France, facility to the best industrial level in order to supply the growing demands for quality recovered carbon black and tire pyrolysis oil to our customers. This new step aligns with the strategy of Alpha Carbone’s main shareholder, Alpha Recyclage Franche Comté, to offer the best possible solution for recycling end-of-life tires,” said Laura Pech, CEO of Alpha Carbone.