A new partnership between Wastefront and Newcastle University will see the duo study the characterization and enhancement of Wastefront’s recovered carbon black (rCB). The partnership aims to deliver industry innovation from research conceived in the North of England, while ensuring the region is at the forefront of progressing circularity across Europe.
Wastefront’s business model will see the company work to eliminate the UK’s waste tires export by creating a local, circular solution to a global problem. Instead of burning waste tires in cement kilns, Wastefront will utilize commercial operating technologies to convert end-of-life-tires (ELTs) into rCB and other useful products.
The study will focus on rCB interaction with rubbers and its correlation with prospective industrial applications, to directly support Wastefront’s efforts to enable the rCB it produces to be used in new products.
Over the next 18 months the Newcastle University team will quantify the interaction of the rCB with a set of different solvents which have varying degrees of dispersion interaction; they will develop methods to better understand the nature of the surface within the rCB material; and investigate applications for the rCB in other materials.
The study will develop methods to reduce inorganic components in rCB, improving its chemical and material properties to ensure Wastefront produces a better product than its rCB competitors. This will include identifying rCB reinforcement in rubber goods.
The team from Newcastle University will consist of Prof. Steve Bull, co-investigator, Cookson Group chair of Engineering Materials; Prof. Katarina Novakovic, principal investigator, Reader in Polymer Engineering; Dr Deepashree Thumbarathy, post-doctoral research associate, Chemical Engineer; and Dr Tim Blackburn, business development manager.
“Circularity is central to the work Wastefront is undertaking to tackle the scourge of ELTs – and expanding our understanding of recovered carbon black is key to realizing this goal,” said Henrik Selstam, CTO, Wastefront. “As we continue to grow, so too will the uses and capabilities of the products we produce – none more so than recovered carbon black. We are delighted to partner with Newcastle University to further advance the commercial capabilities of recovered carbon black through our joint studies.”
“At Newcastle University we are delighted to add this exciting partnership with Wastefront to our portfolio of research that advances sustainable innovation and the circular economy and enables progress toward a net-zero economy,” added Professor Brian Walker, pro-vice chancellor for research strategy and resources, Newcastle University. “We are especially pleased that Wastefront will promote inclusive economic growth here in the Northeast, with its roots in the local area and the construction of its new plant at the Port of Sunderland.”