Marietta, Georgia – Birla Carbon and Brazil-based cleantech company GranBio Technologies have developed a “breakthrough” nanocellulose technology to improve the sustainability of tire & rubber products.
Developed during a three-year partnership, the patent-pending nanocellulose dispersion composite (NDC) rubber masterbatch improves the tires’ rolling resistance and fuel economy, while incorporating sustainable bio-derived nanocellulose into the compound, Birla announced 20 Feb.
The technology is claimed to effectively disperse hydrophilic nanocellulose into hydrophobic rubber formulations, a process which had been a “persistent problem” previously.
The process overcomes traditional dispersion challenges by combining several "synergistic innovations", including GranBio's patented hydrophobic form of nanocellulose, Birla added.
While increasing the use of renewable raw materials, the technology is claimed to offer advantages such as 'easy dispersing as well as convenient & dust-free handling and integration into formulations.'
"A key product innovation goal of our tire customers is to increase the amount of renewable raw materials in their tires through product innovation," said Dale Clark, Birla's chief technology officer, commenting on the new process.
The NDC masterbatch, he said, enables the achievement of the goal while improving tire properties and performance.
According to Birla, nanocellulose is a "versatile high-strength, lightweight renewable biomaterial."
GranBio makes a variety of BioPlus-branded nanocellulose products at its biorefinery in Thomaston, Georgia.
Birla has sent NDC rubber masterbatches to tire & rubber companies for qualification.