The Leading Journal for the Tyre Recycling Sector

The Leading Journal for the Tyre Recycling Sector

Nokian Tyres and UPM to Cooperate to Replace Carbon Black

Nokian Tyres and UPM, a leading biomaterials production expert, are partnering to further increase sustainability in the tyre industry by introducing the first concept tyre made with a new renewable material with the potential to replace a significant part of the carbon black currently used in tyre production

The innovative material, called UPM BioMotion™ RFF is a promising fully renewable lignin-based alternative for traditional carbon black, reducing the need for fossil materials and lowering carbon emissions in tire manufacturing.

Nokian Tyres has long been innovating to use the material and has registered a patent for using the material in tyre applications. Nokian Tyres is now licensing its patent to UPM, which enables UPM to provide the raw material to the tire industry. UPM will produce the material at its soon to be ready biochemicals biorefinery in Leuna, Germany.

“Our partnership with Nokian Tyres marks the exciting entry of our Renewable Functional Fillers into the global tyre markets. In successfully demonstrating their application value, it helps us to lay the groundwork for scaling our biorefinery business so that we can make a significant contribution to the sustainable transformation of the mobility sector and beyond,” says Michael Duetsch, Vice President Biochemicals at UPM.

Nokian Tyres Green Step Ligna – the first ever concept tyre made with the fully renewable lignin raw material UPM BioMotion™ RFF

Nokian Tyres Green Step Ligna concept tyre is the first ever tyre made with UPM BioMotion™ RFF, a fully renewable wood-based lignin raw material produced by UPM. In the concept tyre all fossil carbon black in the tyre’s sidewalls is replaced by the new raw material.

“With the concept tyre we demonstrate the usability of the groundbreaking new raw material in tyres. Our concept tyre marks a leap towards the use of renewable materials not only for us, but the whole tire industry. By prototyping this renewable material in our tyres, we aim to set new standards for environmental responsibility,” says Teemu Soini, VP, Innovations & Development at Nokian Tyres.

Features superior to carbon black

“We are constantly working on innovations that advance us towards our target of increasing the share of recycled or renewable raw materials in tyres to 50 per cent by 2030.

Since 2022, a portion of the carbon black used by Nokian Tyres has been from recycled materials. We see lignin as a promising renewable alternative to traditional carbon black, and in the future, we hope to see that lignin based renewable filler materials would find their way to tyres as well complementing an increasing share of recycled content,” explains Teemu Soini.

According to initial lab tests UPM BioMotion™ RFF has features superior to traditional carbon black. Replacing a significant part of the carbon black currently used in tyres with the new renewable filler material offers great potential for more sustainable tyres as fillers represent approximately 30 per cent of a tyre’s raw materials.

UPM will first supply UPM BioMotion RFF to Nokian Tyres for prototyping. This includes rigorous testing to use the new material in production. Nokian Tyres is carefully evaluating the material’s performance, safety, and environmental impact compared to traditional carbon black.