Back to Empowering Ideas

Driving Sustainable Futures

March 17, 2021

Driving Toward the Circular Car

By Anamaria Cioanca, Global Strategic Sr. Marketing Leader, Synthetic Rubber

Recently, the Circle Economy published the Circularity Gap Report 2021, revealing the world’s circularity progress is worse off than two years ago, primarily due to increasing consumption and insufficient efforts to use less and re-use. Notably, mobility is one of the key contributors to greenhouse gas emissions globally, making it an essential consideration in the effort to adopt effective circular solutions.

In response, the World Economic Forum and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSB) launched the “Circular Car Initiative”– an effort to realize the potential of a car generating zero emissions from materials incorporated, and in the production and use phases. To make the “circular car” a reality, new business, taxonomy, and policy models are required to drive a circularity revolution founded on four strategic pillars:

  • Energy decarbonization – Shifting to renewable energy in production and use
  • Lifetime optimization – Extending vehicle and component lifetime
  • Utilization improvement – Moving toward shared mobility
  • Materials circularity – Adopting 100% recycled or renewable materials with end-of-life processing capabilities

Within this initiative, Trinseo is pioneering materials and processing solutions that increase material circularity and extend component lifetime. Here’s how we’re taking steps to realize the potential of the circular car.

Product Performance

We’re developing new functionalized S-SBR solutions that improve key performance features impacting sustainability, like wear and rolling resistance. By minimizing wear, we can extend the life of tires. This will be particularly important as the industry shifts toward electrical vehicles, which are heavier, or toward a ridesharing model, which requires that tires resist wear from nearly 24/7 use. Furthermore, formulation adjustments can reduce tire rolling resistance, which minimizes CO2 emissions and increases fuel efficiency – or ride range in the case of electrical vehicles.

Recycled Content

We’re also increasing use of recycled tire content. The WBCSD estimates 1 billion tires are scrapped annually, with nearly half at risk of entering the environment. To help reduce pollution and increase the circularity of automotive tires, we’ve partnered with Tyre Recycling Solutions. The partnership gives our customers access to high-performance recycled rubber content from end-of-life tire feedstocks for use in new tires, without performance impact.

Mass Balance

We’re helping pioneer mass balance within the synthetic rubber value chain for automotive tires as another circular solution with immediate application. Mass balance is a chain of custody model that certifies the input of sustainable feedstocks (e.g., bio or certified raw materials) is equivalent to the allocation in finished goods. Recently, our synthetic rubber facility in Schkopau, Germany received a mass balance certification from the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC), and we sold our first certified material in Q4 2020.

As we look ahead, these efforts will help drive the circular car initiative and represent just the beginning of our sustainability journey to close the loop. The circular car cannot be achieved in isolation, which is why we’re proactively sharing our solutions in the value chain and engaging with industry partners to build awareness and traction. Together, we’re moving closer to the zero pollution car of tomorrow. 

Share with your colleagues or friends:

Get Exclusive Trinseo Content

Be the first to hear about new product information, company news, and more Trinseo updates conveniently via email!