Our vision of delivering performance that makes a difference is exemplified by our products that provide health, safety, environmental and other sustainability benefits for our customers.
We are committed to continuing to develop innovative products that improve the performance of our customers’ products by imparting properties that extend product life spans, increase fuel efficiency and optimize resource conservation. We look to grow our involvement in the circular economy by developing opportunities to use waste or byproducts as raw materials, and we understand that, as responsible manufacturers, we have an obligation to share comprehensive information on the health, safety and environmental aspects of our products.
Innovation in energy storage
As part of our commitment to advancing the energy industry, we were excited to announce our participation in two United States Department of Energy research projects, for lithium-ion and lead acid battery materials. We will leverage our novel process technology to contribute to the research and development of low-cobalt active cathode formulations for next-generation lithium-ion batteries. Research projects like these are designed to explore more sustainable, affordable options to cobalt, and ultimately to improve access to electric vehicle technology. For the lead acid battery project, we and fellow members of the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium are funding research by Argonne National Laboratory aimed at gaining the critical knowledge needed to create the next generation of lead batteries that will provide economical, recyclable and rechargeable energy storage. In addition to these two projects, we lend our expertise to several other partner-led research projects designed to advance the technologies of tomorrow.
Applying carbon nanostructure technologies
In 2018, we gained capabilities in carbon nanostructure (CNS) technologies. We are working with customers serving the automotive industry to advance applications of CNS-containing composites for a wide range of conductive applications, including electrostatic discharge and electromagnetic interference shielding. These composites enable light-weighting and electrification, which help the industry achieve its future vision of more sustainable mobility. This innovative technology will also enable us to develop advanced formulated solutions for energy storage applications, enabling batteries to operate longer with greater capacity.
Compliance with REACH
We successfully completed registrations under the European Union (EU) REACH chemical regulation in 2018. Since initial requirements began under this rule in 2010, we have been focused on meeting our obligations for the diverse set of products we manufacture in or import into the EU. Our efforts include partnering with our peers through our industry groups and REACH consortia. We are committed to maintaining our focus on compliance with REACH and other global product regulatory obligations.
Fiber-grade carbon black supports wastewater reductions
Our fiber-grade carbon black products help enable a solution for environmental challenges faced by the synthetic fiber industry. With the increasing emphasis on environmental protection and sustainable development, the dope-dyeing process has emerged as an alternative and is gradually replacing the bath-dyeing process.
Traditional bath-dyeing methods generate large amounts of wastewater and emissions. When using our specialty carbon blacks in the dope-dyeing process, customers can greatly reduce the volume of wastewater generated and can minimize other environmental impacts while achieving the exceptional color performance our products deliver.
Providing Sustainable and Economical Solutions
Our products improve efficiency and reduce waste across industries. For example, the integration of carbon black into a mulch film in coffee cultivation helps farmers combat pests and weeds and subsequently control chemical and water use.
Brazil is one of the world’s most prominent coffee producers, with a total coffee bean crop area of approximately 2.2 million hectares. Coffee growers in Brazil are in a constant battle with pests and weeds, either of which could destroy a vital crop. Fortunately, a polyethylene mulch film containing our specialty carbon black offers an effective solution. With the application of this material, Brazilian coffee farmers have been able to reduce supplemental watering and herbicide application by up to 30%, thereby reducing the stress on the coffee crop, minimizing the overapplication of chemicals and water, and ensuring the economic success of their business.
Improving Recycled Plastics' Potential
The PLASBLAK® 628 black masterbatch series are formulations for recycled plastic resins to significantly improve performance and versatility. This solution is used for numerous applications, including household goods and packaging materials.
We are continuing to advance formulations containing recycled material content, furthering our role in the circular economy. This focus is further evidenced by our recent acquisition of Tech Blend, which has demonstrated successful use of recycled plastic material in its production of black masterbatches.
Aerogel Insulating Plasters Enable Increased Energy Savings in Buildings
Due to the initial high cost of the product, the spectrum of uses seemed limited at first. Through a joint effort with our partner, Fixit AG, we enabled the next step toward market adoption by lowering the price of the aerogel plaster, thereby making it more accessible to a broader group of users. This change enabled a significant increase in application uses. Specifically, PROCERAM GmbH & Co. KG utilized Fixit aerogel insulating plaster in the renovation of an entire 8-story apartment complex near Berlin, Germany. By applying a 60 millimeter thick layer of the aerogel plaster, the building was able to achieve significant energy savings. Existing facades can now be insulated without changing the appearance of the building while also achieving significant energy savings of up to 70%.
Extending Tire Tread Life
Cabot elastomer composite (CEC) products are a unique mixture of rubber and carbon black targeted for use in many types of tires. Our patented mixing process for these materials allows for improved durability that can extend the tread life of tires by over 15%.
Because tires made with CEC last longer, the number of waste tires is reduced — a benefit both for our customers and the environment given that more than 1 billion waste tires are generated each year worldwide. We are working to expand this more efficient use of resources by committing a team of employees to the broader commercialization of elastomer composite products.
Battery Additives Improve Energy Storage Performance
As such, it is vitally important to make the existing lead-acid batteries more efficient, able to accept a fast re-charge, offer a wide operating temperature range, and have an increased cycle life and stable voltage plateau. Our PBX® carbon additives enable battery developers to improve the durability and performance of batteries. In 2016, we made our first breakthrough in India by offering commercial quantities of our PBX carbon additive for use in batteries that offer improved dynamic charge acceptance and increased cycle life. Our PBX products are now supporting India’s quest for sustainable, reliable energy storage systems.
Advancing Our Customers
We are constantly working with our customers to find innovative solutions that will help them advance their own products. In many cases, this allows us to work with customers who have their own ambitions for sustainability by developing products with superior efficiency, durability, or cutting edge applications like those for renewable energy.