News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

January 23, 2023

Webinar: Recovered Carbon Black for Investors

Filed under: Carbon Black, Recovered Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:10 pm

Notch will join the discussion for a new webinar, Recovered Carbon Black for Bankers & Investors. The time is Tuesday, January 24 at 8 AM EST (14:00 CET). The webinar will provide an introduction to carbon black, tire pyrolysis, and recovered carbon black, coupled with a discussion of investment criteria for the sector. Speakers include Martin von Wolfersdorff on rCB and Shane Perl of ALPEN Group on feedstocks. Follow the link to join the conversation!

January 17, 2023

Solvay launches RHA-based HDS, announces new silica plant for North America

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 4:48 pm

Solvay (Brussels, Belgium) announced today that it is investing in a new production line at its silica plant in Livorno, Italy to produce highly dispersible silica (HDS) using sodium silicate derived from rice hull ash. Production is expected to begin by the end of 2024.

This new breakthrough silicate process provides a circular solution as it gives a second life to rice husk in a local value chain. Coupled with renewable energy integration at the plant, it will allow Solvay to achieve a 50% reduction in CO2 per ton of silica. This will make the Livorno site Europe’s best in class silica production site in terms of CO2 footprint.

Solvay plans to gradually replace its existing portfolio of Zeosil highly dispersible silica for the tire industry with circular HDS, which the company says will help tiremakers reduce their CO2 footprints and reach sustainability goals. In addition to the tire industry, the new silica also has applications in the personal care and food/feed industries. Solvay is the first silica producer to commit to the production of RHA-based silica in Europe, though Evonik announced last September that it will add an RHA-based silica unit at a plant in Thailand in 2024.

Solvay also announced plans to build a new HDS plant in North America over the coming years, but did not provide details on this project. The new facility will be designed for circular raw materials and be aligned with the company’s carbon neutrality roadmap, according to Solvay. The company is also investigating projects on circular HDS in Asia and South America.

December 22, 2022

Continental Carbon announces closure of Phenix City carbon black plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:05 pm

On Tuesday, Continental Carbon Company issued a letter to customers, employees, and partners announcing the closure of the company’s carbon black plant in Phenix City, Alabama as of December 31, 2022. As previously reported, the plant is subject to a Consent Decree with the US EPA that sets December 31 as the deadline for the installation of equipment to reduce emissions of SOx/NOx. Continental has been seeking an extension on the deadline.

In a letter announcing the closure, Dennis Hetu, President of CCC, said:

CCC has been engaged with the EPA and DOJ for several months now in an exhaustive attempt to reach an amendment to the Consent Decree and extend the deadline. We have not been asking to be absolved of the requirements but simply a request to extend the deadline – as all of our competitors in the market have requested. However, as of the writing of this note the EPA and DOJ have provided us with one simple answer – NO! They have no desire nor interest to extend our deadline and do not seem to be concerned with the impacts to the economy, supply chain, employees, or even the fact that this will encourage more imports from two nations (China and Russia) who do not concern themselves with environmental impacts.

December 15, 2022

Continental Carbon carbon black plant to close following EPA/DOJ decision

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 5:23 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Justice have ruled that no extension or grace period will be granted to Continental Carbon Co. regarding the installation of environmental remediation equipment at its Phenix City, Alabama carbon black plant, Notch has learned from industry sources. This means that, barring some further development, the factory will cease operations by January 1, 2023. Continental Carbon had requested a two- to three-year extension on the completion schedule stipulated in its consent decree with the US EPA/DOJ, which requires a DGS (dry gas scrubbing) or WGS (wet gas scrubbing) system for sulfur dioxide and particulate matter to be installed at the plant by December 31, 2022 and in continuous operation by 180 days thereafter.

Continental Carbon has already completed the required remediation projects for its other two carbon black plants in the United States. The schedule for these projects was September 1, 2020 for Sunray, Texas and April 1, 2021 for Ponca City, Oklahoma. The consent decree was signed in 2015 and modified in 2017. The effort to keep the factory open received significant local and regional support.

The factory has 90,000 tons/year of capacity for tread grades, though in recent years it has been operating at partial capacity. Notch estimates that the closure will remove about 40-50 KT of supply from the US carbon black market.

November 1, 2022

Bridgestone will divest Russian operations

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 10:29 pm

On October 31, Bridgestone Corporation announced it will sell all of its assets in Russia due to the war in Ukraine. The process could take several months. Bridgestone is seeking a buyer for its 80.6 hectare tire plant in Ulyanovsk, which opened in December 2016 and has 2.4 million units per year of capacity for passenger car and light truck tires.

Nokian chooses Romania for new tire plant

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 10:16 pm

Nokian Tyres has announced the location for its new tire plant — Oradea, Romania. The investment will total Euro 650 million and construction is scheduled to begin in early 2023. The factory is expected to begin production in the second half of 2024, with large scale production commencing in early 2025. Nokian said that the plant will be the first zero CO2 emission factory in the tire industry. Capacity in the first phase is 6 million units/year of passenger car tires.

In June 2022, Nokian announced it would exit the Russian market, divesting its factory in Vsevolozhsk, Russia, which opened in 2005 and has capacity to produce 17 million passenger car tires per year. On October 28, Nokian announced it had agreed to sell the factory to P.J.S.C. Tatneft for around $400 million.

October 10, 2022

Cabot raises specialty black prices globally

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:53 pm

On October 6, Cabot Corporation announced it will raise prices globally for carbon black products sold by its specialty carbons business. The increase will be implemented for all shipments on or after November 6, 2022, or as contracts allow. The company said in a press release that the price increase is necessitated by the rise in raw material costs as well as other production-related costs. The increase and timing will vary by product and geography.

August 21, 2022

Notch publishes new report: World Specialty Blacks

Notch Consulting has published a new multi-client market research report, World Specialty Blacks 2022, which covers the global market for premium grades of carbon black used in plastics, inks, paints, batteries, and other non-rubber applications. The report provides historical data from 2011 to 2021 and forecasts for all years from 2022 through 2030. Data provided include specialty blacks demand, market value, production capacity by company and plant, capacity expansion projects, major grades & product lines, and market share by company.

World Specialty Blacks 2022 covers the following product segments:

  • Specialty furnace blacks (i.e., furnace blacks used in non-rubber uses)
  • Modified furnace blacks (e.g., Ensaco)
  • Thermal blacks (including medium and fine thermal black)
  • Acetylene blacks
  • Gas & Lamp blacks
  • Superconductive blacks (e.g., Ketjenblack)
  • Carbon nanotubes (including single-wall and multiwall carbon nanotubes)

Markets covered include:

  • Plastics (Film, Injection/Blow Molding, Wire/Cable, Pipe, Engineering, Fiber)
  • Conductive Polymers (Wire & Cable Semicon, ESD, Conductive Plastics)
  • Ink & Toners (Newsprint, Publication & Packaging Inks, Toners, Inkjets)
  • Batteries (Lithium-Ion, Lead Acid, Dry Cell, Next Generation)
  • Other Markets (Adhesives, Mulch, Rubber Goods, Graphite/Carbon, Insulation)

Companies discussed in the report include Asahi Carbon (Bridgestone), Birla Carbon, Black Diamond Material Science (Black Cat), Cabot Corporation, CSRC Group, Denka Company, Hexing Chemical Industry, Imerys Graphite & Carbon, Jiangsu CNano Technology, Ketjen Black International Company, Mitsubishi Chemical, Monolith Materials, OCSiAl Group, Omsk Carbon Group, Orion Engineered Carbons, PCBL Limited, Shanxi Yongdong Chemistry Industry, TAKREER, Tokai Carbon, Unipetrol, a.s., and Zhongyi Coal Chemical Industry.

The report is distributed as a printable PDF and includes a separate Excel file with extensive supplemental data. World Specialty Blacks was last updated in 2017. Contact Notch at info @ for details and subscription rates.

June 29, 2022

Tokai Carbon CB raising carbon black prices in North America

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:57 am

Tokai Carbon CB will raise prices on all grades of carbon black in North America by $0.20/lb effective August 1, 2022. The company said the price increase is necessary to pay higher operating costs associated with ongoing investment in equipment to meet increasingly rigorous environmental standards and higher operating expenses required to ensure continuity and increase overall reliability for customers.

June 20, 2022

Notch presenting at European Carbon Black Summit in Frankfurt this week

Filed under: Carbon Black, Conferences — Notch @ 2:05 pm

Notch Consulting is presenting a paper at the European Carbon Black Summit being held this week (June 22/23) in Frankfurt. The paper — Carbon Black Global Outlook: the Year in Carbon Black 2022 — looks at the causes of the current supply tightness in Europe and North America. The conference provides two days of talks on carbon black, feedstocks, recovered carbon black, and other topics of interest to the industry. Hope to see you there!

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