Hankook Tire hosts the 'Tire-to-Tire Circular Economy Model' consortium kick-off
- The consortium kick-off took place on November 1 at the ‘Hankook Technodome’ in Daejeon, Korea
- Hankook will collaborate with 11 other companies and institutes to establish recycling of end-of-life tires, resource circulation technologies, and a sustainable supply chain
Seoul, Korea, November 3, 2023 – Global leading tire company Hankook Tire & Technology (Hankook Tire) hosted the official kick-off meeting for the ’Tire-to-Tire Circular Economy Model’ consortium on November 1 in Daejeon, South Korea. Held at the Hankook Technodome, the event marked the start of the consortium’s efforts to create the business model for the circular economy of end-of-life tires in Korea.
Initiated by Hankook Tire, the ‘Tire-to-Tire Circular Economy Model’ project aims to promote a circular economy of end-of-life tires in the industry sector by designing innovative upcycling processes for turning end-of-life tires into new tires. This project signifies industry commitment to meeting global demands for carbon neutrality and using more sustainable materials in the manufacturing process. Twelve companies and institutes including Hankook Tire, Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute, LD Carbon, Korea Institute of Footwear & Leather Technology, HD Hyundai Oilbank, HD Hyundai Chemical, HD Hyundai OCI, SK Incheon Petrochem, SK Geo Centric, LG Chem, Kumho Petrochemical and OCI will collaborate on the project with the goal of improving the industry’s shift toward sustainability.
The group will harness its diverse backgrounds and manufacturing expertise to develop technological solutions that promote a circular economy of end-of-life tires with a focus on identifying and producing sustainable raw materials that can be used in tire manufacturing, such as sustainable carbon black and synthetic rubber as well as recovered carbon. The collective will aim to showcase the technical, economic, and environmental feasibility of a recycling process of end-of-life tires in Korea, using materials from sources including high-quality recovered carbon and pyrolysis oil from end-of-life tires. Those efforts will be further strengthened by the establishment of a stable supply chain for sustainable raw materials obtained from upcycling technology.
The consortium aims to extend material recovery rates for end-of-life tires even further by building a system to steer access to high-quality, sustainable raw materials. Creating that system will require analysis, research, and development of the entire tire product cycle – from waste tire collection and sorting, to waste tire pyrolysis, to refining the resultant pyrolysis oil, manufacturing sustainable raw materials and using them to produce tires, all the way to smarter disposal systems. Additionally, the company intends to seek R&D support from government ministries and affiliated organizations to accelerate the development of standardized technologies and processes.
“It is an honor to host such a meaningful consortium. Our efforts to establishing this model for circular economy of end-of-life tires, will play a vital role in strengthening a more sustainable value chain for the industry, helping replace conventional petrochemical-based raw materials with high-quality secondary raw material,” said Bonhee Ku, Chief Technology Officer of Hankook Tire & Technology. This movement will also reduce reliance on petro-chemical resources, helping Korea reach its CO2 emission reduction goals for the industrial sector (2030 National Determined Contribution, NDC). The program is also expected to solidify industrial competitiveness by elevating low-value-added sectors to high-value-added industries.
Circular economy models are becoming an important system in making the global tire industry more sustainable and reducing environmental risks. For example, in Europe, the ‘BlackCycle’ project has been operational since 2020 across five countries – France, Spain, Germany, Greece, and Switzerland – engaging 13 organizations, including both public and private partners.
Global programs launched by governments and private companies also helped supporting this shift. For example, Horizon 2020, a scientific research program run by the European Union, has contributed EUR 12 million to the development of a circular economy model for waste tires in Europe. This model involves the development of technologies and processes aimed at enhancing waste tire recycling and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It is committed to producing sustainable raw materials to be used in the manufacture of tires and establishing a circular economy throughout every phase of the tire life cycle.