Mercedes-Benz produces door handles from scrap tires

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Mercedes-Benz has been collaborating with several partners to introduce a circular approach for end-of-life tires, resulting in the production of components for the OEM’s models.

By using BASF’s chemical recycling process, Pyrum Innovations pyrolysis oil generated from used tires and a combination of biomethane from agricultural waste, it is possible to produce a virgin-quality plastic that is certified in accordance with the mass balance approach. An independent certification company confirms the supplier has replaced the quantity of fossil resources necessary for a final product which uses renewable resources and pyrolysis oil from scrap tires. The project between Mercedes-Benz and BASF marks the first time pyrolysis oil from scrap tires has been combined with biomethane.

By recovering the secondary materials, both the fossil resources and also the carbon footprint of the resulting plastic is reduced. Furthermore, the recycled plastic has the same characteristics as virgin plastic produced from crude oil, enabling it to be applied as a drop-in solution for ongoing production processes.

In 2022, the EQE and S-Class models will become the first series-production models to feature bow door handles produced from a combination of biomethane and pyrolysis oil from end-of-life tires. A crash absorber based on these raw sustainable materials will also feature on the S-Class. Upcoming models including the EQE SUV will also feature bow door handles.

The pair aims to increase the use of the recycled material, and also the use of chemical recycling in combination with the biomass balance approach for further sustainable plastic parts for vehicles.

“On our journey to an all-electric future, we are rethinking the composition of all the materials in our vehicles,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management, Mercedes‑Benz Group, and chief technology officer, responsible for development and procurement. “Every action counts when it comes to conserving resources. Through close collaboration with our supplier network, we are replacing raw fossil resources with pyrolysis oil made in part from recycled scrap tires supplied by Mercedes-Benz.

“Components featuring this technology will enter series production in a number of our models as soon as this year. We anticipate being able to chemically recycle several hundred tons of scrap tires from Mercedes-Benz vehicles every year and use the resulting plastic in our new vehicles. Together with our partners, we are closing the materials loop and actively driving the development of innovative recycling processes.”

The OEM is aiming to increase the proportion of recycled materials in its car fleet to an average of 40% by 2030.

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors.

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