Michelin invests in Pyrowave, explores use of recycled plastics in future tires

by Today's Trucking

MONTREAL, Que. – Michelin Ventures has invested in Pyrowave, a Canadian business looking to transform waste plastics into a renewable resource that could eventually be used to help make tires.

The latest financing round for the Canadian business has also secured funds from Sofinnova Partners, a European venture capital company, and Ecofuel, a Quebec investment fund and accelerator for clean technology companies.

Pyrowave is looking to produce styrene monomer out of plastic waste, creating a material that could be integrated into synthetic rubber — which could eventually help to produce truck tires. (Photo: Pyrowave)

Pyrowave has already demonstrated the capacity to produce a styrene monomer from plastic waste, and then integrate the material into synthetic rubber. Today’s tires include natural and synthetic rubber.

“This investment marks a turning point in the circular plastics economy, and Michelin’s support sends the signal that the market is ready to implement these solutions,” said Pyrowave president and CEO Jocelyn Doucet.

“They believe in our technology,” he told Today’s Trucking. “The investment they have made here enables us to consolidate the technology, bring it to the market and commercialize it.”

While there are few markets for styrenes and polystyrenes collected through recycling efforts, styrene is used to make synthetic rubber, and is also needed to produce the plastics found in electronics.

“We are targeting manufacturers who already buy styrene and who wish to reach targets for recycled content in their products,” Doucet said.

During the 2018 Movin’On Sustainability Summit, Michelin announced its goal of using 80% recycled content or sustainable materials by 2048, and ensuring tires are completely recycled at the end of their useful lives.

“This investment strengthens Michelin’s position as a benchmark for high-tech sustainable materials,” said Matthieu van der Elst, chairman and CEO of Michelin Ventures.

According to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, almost 25% of the rubber found in a heavy truck tire is made from various synthetic polymers.

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