New bio-based ingredient for the automotive and rubber industries

July 20, 2016

A growing North American plastics market is offering new value-added uses for biomass crops and agricultural residues.

A recently completed Growing Forward 2 (GF2) project has assisting in the development and commercialization of BIOBLAKR®, a replacement for the fossil fuel-based carbon black currently used in the automotive and rubber industries.

It’s a Canadian technology from the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre at the University of Guelph and being commercialized by Competitive Green Technologies in Leamington.

To make the product attractive enough to customers to encourage them to adopt it, it has to be price competitive, deliver equal or better performance, and be compatible with existing equipment. The company has been conducting BIOBLAKR® trials with three potential partners that are manufacturing interior car parts, a film blower for black bags, and pallets and storage containers.

The company is implementing a plan for understanding and characterizing the various types of carbon black in existence, and identifying key market segments and customers.

They’ve experimented with different processes that will eventually allow them to scale up production to an estimated 100,000 pounds (45.35 tonnes) of BIOBLAKR™ per day, and establish a biomass supply chain in southwestern Ontario to ensure consistent supply of ingredients – every tonne of BIOBLAKR™ requires three tonnes of biomass.

It is estimated that the North American market for treated or modified bio-carbon as a replacement for carbon black is approximately two billion pounds (907,000 tonnes), and that the total market including rubber and tires represents about 25 billion pounds (11 million tonnes).

Growing Forward 2 is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists with the delivery of GF2 programming in Ontario. 

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