Last week the US Department of Commerce announced its preliminary countervailing duty subsidies for Chinese consumer tires. The preliminary duty is 15.69 percent, with final determination scheduled for April 6, 2015. The Department of Commerce is also studying anti-dumping duties, with final determination by January 21, 2015.
December 1, 2014
November 20, 2014
This week, Evonik Corporation’s Inorganic Materials Business Unit announced new agreements with The Cary Company and Dorsett & Jackson, Inc. to broaden distribution of its silica products in the U.S. Midwest and Western regions, respectively. Previously representing Evonik’s silica product lines in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Northern Indiana, and portions of Iowa and Illinois, The Cary Company will now also cover all of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. In addition to the territories of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, Dorsett & Jackson, Inc., will represent Evonik’s silica product lines in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
The agreement includes ACEMATT® Matting Agents, SIPERNAT® and SIDENT® Precipitated Silica, AEROSIL® Fumed Silica, AEROXIDE® Mixed Metal Oxides, and AERODISP® Dispersions. Walsh & Associates, Inc. had previously supported Evonik’s distribution of silica in these areas.
Evonik’s silica products are used in diverse applications including paints & coatings, adhesives & sealants, plastics, inks, silicone and life sciences.
November 18, 2014
The Economic Times has an interview with Surendra Chawla, head of global R&D for Goodyear Tire and Rubber. The topic is precipitated silica produced from rice hull ash for potential use in tires at the expense of both carbon black and conventionally-produced precipitated silica. According to Goodyear, one of the biggest benefits of rice husk ash silica is production costs:
How cost-effective is this compared with extracting silica from sand?
Surendra Chawla: There are two aspects to this. The cost, of course, is lower. But the bigger aspect is that the energy consumed in extracting silica from the traditional source, which is sand, is much higher. To extract silica from sand, you have to heat the sand up to 1,400 degrees Celsius. We don’t have a plant yet to produce silica from husk ash — only a pilot facility. But the power required, the temperature required for extracting silica from ash is only 100 degrees Celsius versus.
Earlier this year, there were a spate of stories about Goodyear’s interest in silica produced from rice husk ash. Pirelli also has committed to using this product in its tires.
November 17, 2014
Tire Business reports that Michelin North America Inc. is opening a plant in Piedmont, S.C., dedicated to the production of its Tweel non-pneumatic tire/wheel assembly. Ribbon-cutting for the new plant will be held on November 20, and Michelin did not reveal the plant’s cost, size, employment, or production capacity. The plant is Michelin’s 10th in South Carolina and 16th in the United States.
The Tweel airless tire/wheel assembly was commercially introduced in 2012 after some seven years of development work. The first OE fitments for the Tweel are with Deere & Co. for the John Deere ZTRAK zero-turn commercial lawn mowers. At present, the Tweel is aimed primarily at skid-steers and other industrial applications.
November 13, 2014
As part of the agreement, Mr. Obama announced that the United States would emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020.
China’s pledge to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030, if not sooner, is even more remarkable. To reach that goal, Mr. Xi pledged that so-called clean energy sources, like solar power and windmills, would account for 20 percent of China’s total energy production by 2030.
It will be interesting to see how this agreement is implemented in the United States given the mid-term election results and the Republican-controlled Congress.
November 12, 2014
Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) recently announced the launch of two new grades of precipitated silica designed to replace polyethylene and polypropylene microbeads used as exfoliants in cosmetics such as shower gels, facial care products, and body peeling scrubs.
According to Evonik, the two new grades, SIPERNAT® 2200 PC and SIPERNAT® 22 PC, are listed as nature-identical by the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association (NATRUE), a globally active association for the promotion of natural skin care. This means the substance (in this case, silica or SiO2) occurs naturally, but is not usually available in the required purity. Cosmetic products have very high purity standards. Although synthetic amorphous silica is identical to naturally occurring silica (such as sand) in chemical terms, its purity is significantly higher than natural silica due to its production process.
The cosmetics industry is working to replace plastic microbeads as the abrasive in cosmetics, so silica looks to pick up new use in the applications. “All leading manufacturers of cosmetics and body care products are currently working to replace abrasive microplastics particles,” according to Andreas Fischer, the head of the Silica Business Line of the Evonik Resource Efficiency Segment.
Evonik offers two different variants for manufacturers of cosmetics: SIPERNAT® 2200 PC features cleansing particles with a size of approx. 320 µm, while the particle size in SIPERNAT® 22 PC is approx. 120 µm. Both products have a microsponge structure. In addition to providing a cleansing function, this unique structure allows the silica to absorb liquid active ingredients and scents and carry them for release at a desired point – such as the application of a skin care product.
October 27, 2014
The Carbon Black World conference was held last week in Barcelona, Spain. Organized by Smithers Rapra, this year’s conference was one of the largest and most comprehensive, bringing together more than 275 industry leaders — including carbon black producers and customers, feedstock and equipment suppliers, investors, and consultants — for three days of talks, socializing, and networking. Andrew Smaha of Smithers Rapra worked diligently this year to expand the program and to bring in new voices, and his efforts certainly paid off in terms of both the presentations and the attendance.
Notch Consulting’s keynote address was entitled “Global Carbon Black Outlook and Trends,” and it looked at three major trends affecting the carbon black industry: 1. the US EPA’s program to tighten air emission regulations for US carbon black plants; 2. the Chinese carbon black export boom, its causes and effects; and 3. the ongoing competition between carbon black and precipitated silica in tire treads. The paper also presented an overview of carbon black supply/demand as well as forecasts. Unfortunately, due to a last minute travel snafu, I was unable to attend the conference and was profoundly grateful to my friend David Shaw, who stepped at the last minute to deliver Notch’s paper. David runs Tire Industry Research, a new consulting firm dedicated to the tire industry. David’s own excellent paper was entitled “Tire Industry Demand by Region; Macro Stressors and Potential Future Outcomes.”
Altaf Jiwani of Phillips Carbon Black presented a paper on specialty blacks for plastics, printing inks, paints, and adhesives. Timofey Kucherenko of Omsk Carbon Group presented an overview of the Russian carbon black industry, while William Jones of Sid Richardson Carbon & Energy presented the North American perspective. Feedstock issues were addressed in a session that included papers from Ms. Madhurima Gupta of Birla Carbon, Vince Guercio of CTC International, Kris Vanherbergen of RUTGERS, and Professor Li Bingyan of the China Carbon Black Institute.
In other notable papers, Martin O’Neill of Cabot Corporation presented an overview of the EPA activity in North America, while technical and process issues were addressed by CP Natarajan of Ganpads (technology enhancements to improve yield and reduce emissions); Cui Jianbo of Doright (air preheaters); Greg Homoki of ARVOS GmbH (air preheaters); and Volker Schmitz of PCME (baghouse filters). Markets for conductive blacks were addressed in papers by Fabrizio Corti of Imerys Graphite & Carbon and Dr. Yangyong Wang of AdvanPro Limited. Finally, a full session was dedicated to the important issue of sustainability and carbon black recycling, featuring talks by Sanford Ewing of Tellus Technology, Dr. Philipp Theden of carbon clean tech AG, Dr. Ulrich Sattler of Pyrolyx AG, and Thomas Redd of Reklaim Inc.
There are three separate conferences covering the carbon black industry: Carbon Black World and Carbon Black Asia Pacific are held in October/November on alternating years in North America/Europe and Asia, respectively, while Carbon Black China is held every other year in China. The next Carbon Black Asia Pacific conference will be held from November 4-6, 2015 at the Bey Hotel Tokyu in Yokohama, Japan. The next Carbon Black China conference will be held in April 2016 at a site in China to be determined. The next Carbon Black World conference will be held October/November 2016 at a site to be determined.
October 3, 2014
Omsk Carbon Group, Russia’s largest producer of carbon black, announced in September that it had opened a Canadian office in Prescott, Ontario. The new office, which is called Omsk Carbon Canada Limited, carried out its first carbon black deliveries in September. Omsk has been serving Canadian customers for many years but decided to expand its global distribution network with an direct representative office in Canada. Omsk also operates representative offices in the United States, Germany, Romania, and Turkey. Brent Ellis was named the General Manager of Omsk Canada Carbon Limited.
September 30, 2014
In September, Sumitomo Rubber Industries launched a new flagship product for its Dunlop-brand Enasave series of fuel-efficient tires. The new tire, which is currently offered only in Japan, achieved an ‘AAA-a’ rank under the Japanese tire labeling program, the highest rating possible for rolling resistance and wet grip. Sumitomo says the new tire has 50% lower rolling resistance than the standard Japanese replacement market Dunlop tire that the company introduced in 2008, the year it set out to achieve this goal. Sumitomo met another of its long term goals in November 2013, when it introduced the Dunlop Enasave 100, an entirely fossil-free tire, at the Tokyo Motor Show.
According to Rubber News, Goodyear plans to produce plans to use silica derived from rice husk ash to produce low rolling resistance tires. The ash is a waste-product from the burning of rice husks to produce electricity. Goodyear reportedly has tested silica derived from rice husk ash over the past two years at its Innovation Center in Akron and found that the material’s effect on tire performance was “equal to traditional sources.” Goodyear is reportedly in the process of negotiating with potential suppliers to purchase silica produced from rice hull ash.
“The use of rice husk ash will provide Goodyear an alternative source of silica while helping reduce the amount of rice husk waste being landfilled,” said Joseph Zekoski, interim chief technical officer. “This illustrates Goodyear’s commitment to innovation and to the environment.”