The exclusive partnership will leverage LanzaTech’s technology to create a pathway toward tire material circularity and the decarbonization of new tire production.
Today, tire giant Bridgestone Americas announced an exclusive partnership with carbon-capture and -transformation (CCT) company LanzaTech NZ, Inc. to address end-of-life tire waste. The two companies will co-develop the first dedicated end-of-life tire recycling process leveraging LanzaTech’s proprietary CCT technology, creating a pathway toward tire material circularity and the decarbonization of new tire production.
According to the WBCSD’s Tire Industry Project, more than a billion tires globally reach the end of their useful service life each year. Bridgestone and LanzaTech will work to address this issue by converting end-of-life tires into new materials, including exploring processes to create sustainable synthetic rubber that does not rely on petrochemicals.
“We are excited to join forces with LanzaTech to co-create a more sustainable pathway for end-of-life tires,” said Paolo Ferrari, President & CEO of Bridgestone Americas. “The steps we take today are determining the health of our planet for future generations. We are determined to meet the moment with sustainable innovation that transforms the way tires are made and promotes end-to-end material circularity.”
It's been a busy year for LanzaTech — in the past year alone, it has joined forces with Coty, to create carbon-negative ethanol for fragrance production; and with lululemon, to develop polyester made from recycled carbon emissions. And in January, LanzaJet — LanzaTech’s sustainable fuels technology arm — received a $50M capital infusion from Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund to help scale and lower costs of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.
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Now, Bridgestone and LanzaTech seek to develop a new business model that will create a post-consumer waste-management strategy for end-of-life tires, while also driving increased adoption of sustainably sourced chemicals for commercial applications. Applying LanzaTech’s CCT process to end-of-life tires yields sustainably produced chemicals such as ethanol that can be converted to materials such as PET for packaging, polyester yarn and surfactants used in consumer home goods such as laundry detergent. The two companies also plan to co-develop proprietary microbe technology to produce more efficient pathways to produce butadiene — a key ingredient in new tire production — realizing true circularity for end-of-life tires.
"LanzaTech and Bridgestone are working together to find solutions to some of our world's greatest challenges," said LanzaTech CEO Dr. Jennifer Holmgren. "We have already proven that we can convert unrecyclable, unsorted municipal solid waste to ethanol and then make products we use in our daily lives. With our partnership with Bridgestone, we are developing a circular pathway to use tires to make tires. This partnership exemplifies what we call a ‘post-pollution Future.’"
By transforming waste carbon into materials such as sustainable fuels, fabrics, packaging and other products, LanzaTech’s technology platform highlights a future where industry can all but remove its dependency on virgin fossil feedstocks for so many aspects of our daily lives. By changing how the world uses carbon, LanzaTech aims to enable a circular carbon economy — where carbon is reused rather than wasted — and that ‘post-pollution future’ that Holmgren described.
For its part, Bridgestone is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality and make tires from 100 percent renewable materials by 2050. The company is actively researching a range of solutions to support the recycling of materials from end-of-life tires and promote the replacement of non-renewable materials such as oil, silica and virgin carbon black in new tires.
“Our partnership with LanzaTech is a clear commitment by Bridgestone to advancing sustainable tire technologies and solutions that preserve the environment for future generations and contribute to the realization of to a carbon-neutral mobility society,” said Nizar Trigui, Chief Technology Officer and Group President of Solutions Businesses at Bridgestone Americas.
Bridgestone’s partnership with LanzaTech aligns with the Bridgestone E8 Commitment — which consists of 8 values (Energy, Ecology, Efficiency, Extension, Economy, Emotion, Ease and Empowerment) that Bridgestone has committed to creating together with employees, society, partners and customers to realize a sustainable society. This partnership aligns with “Ecology: Committed to advancing sustainable tire technologies and solutions that preserve the environment for future generations” and “Energy: Committed to the realization of a carbon-neutral mobility society.”