RJ Lee Group’s spin-off company, Delta-Energy, LLC. – a petroleum-based resource recovery company, at the 2007 Rubber Expo, introduced its first commercialized product, D-E Black®, a carbon black based product recovered from tire shred and used as an alternative to virgin carbon black in rubber and plastic compounds. The commercial introduction of D-E Black marks a significant milestone not only for the company, but also the rubber industry in support of demand for manufactured goods with recycled content.
Delta-Energy has been test marketing the product line for the past two years with good industry reception. “We are extremely excited about the D-E Black product lines – Phoenix Black for rubber reinforcement and Zephyr Black for plastic and coatings pigmentation. Phoenix Black’s reinforcing properties are comparable to virgin carbon black’s,” said Bill Cole, Vice President Product Management. “Rubber compounders can supplement the use of virgin carbon black with Phoenix Black at a lower cost while maintaining comparable product properties. This reduces users’ carbon footprint and meets customer requests for recycled manufacturing material content. Phoenix Black’s value proposition fits well with the philosophy of green manufacturing programs recently announced by several rubber companies. Zephyr Black finds a ready home in the plastics industry which has even more experience in recycling materials.”
Delta-Energy will feature Phoenix Black at the 2007 Rubber Expo in a joint technical paper presentation with Polymerics. Phoenix Black E900 exhibits the low reinforcement properties of N990, but has tensile and hot tear properties of furnace carbon blacks. This has the potential of reducing mold tear to improve rubber manufacturing yields.
“We have seen char products from a number of laboratory scale tire pyrolysis processes in the past. These products never reached the carbon black map. Like many other rubber compounders we thought these processes would not ever produce recovered black capable of matching virgin carbon black,” said Joe Arhar, President of custom mixer Polymerics, Inc. “Delta-Energy’s approach to us was different. They had independent test data from plant manufactured recovered black, Phoenix Black E900, that appeared similar to N990 performance. Our screening test data of the material reflected Delta-Energy’s results. We are pleased to have worked with Delta-Energy to further define Phoenix Black E900 performance in a range of polymers and cure systems, the results of which culminated in a joint technical paper to be presented today. The results of these tests exceeded even our expectations. We are convinced recovered black from scrap tires is now a viable technology that has a future in the rubber industry. As a custom mixer competing on an international scale, we keep ahead of our competitors by bringing novel compound development technologies to our clients. We are now taking the products of Delta-Energy’s technology to our custom mix customers to counter some of the raw material cost increases all of us in the rubber industry have seen over the past year.”
Delta-Energy began as a quest for a resource recovery solution for rubber in 2000. Until 2006 it was a subsidiary of RJ Lee Group, a premier materials science company of 250+ employees, specializing in solving tough scientific issues and developing technologies. Through the guidance of RJ Lee Group’s science advisors and materials analysts, Delta-Energy discovered the combination of operating parameters to best preserve the properties of carbon black recovered from tire shred. Delta-Energy became a privately held, independent company in 2006.
“For decades finding an environmentally friendly, recycling method to recover basic raw materials from more than 300 million scrap tires disposed of each year in North America, eluded the rubber industry. Plastics, paper and metal are easily recycled by melting or dissolving the materials for reuse. Rubber, a thermal set material, must be chemically attacked to derive the greatest value,” stated Dr. Richard Lee, CEO of the RJ Lee Group and Board Chairman Delta-Energy. “Delta-Energy’s focus for the first six years was to optimize a process maximizing the preservation of the original carbon black properties. Key was the use of the available scientific resources to ensure we had a proven process, a plant capable of ongoing operations and technically acceptable products before introducing D-E Black products broadly into the market.”
Delta-Energy uses their patented DEPolymerization process to recover the basic materials in rubber compounds. Through this process Delta-Energy depolymerizes the polymer, removes the organic mass and recovers the remaining D-E Black products. The organics removed from the reactor form high-energy value liquid and gas fuels. The DEPolymerization process provides both higher economic value and greater net energy value than using scrap tires as tire derived fuel, currently the major end use of scrap tires.
The business is poised for growth as limited market introduction reception for the D-E Oil and D-E Black products has been good. “We are looking at several sites in North America to locate our second and third production facilities. Additionally, we are in the process of soliciting funds and applying for permits for these facilities,” stated Paul Lee, Delta-Energy President. “Our business plan includes owning the technology, operating the plants and developing the markets ourselves. This makes Delta-Energy committed to the viability of all aspects of the recovery business and the industries it serves.”
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Delta-Energy is a privately held company headquartered in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. The company’s website can be found at www.deltaenergy.com.
Polymerics, Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The company’s website can be found at www.polymericsinc.com.