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Comment Sustainability

Versalis partners with devulcanization specialist for recycled-rubber processing

By Mary Page Bailey |

Versalis S.p.A. (San Donato Milanese), Eni’s chemical company and a leader in the production and marketing of elastomers, and AGR, company that owns technology for the devulcanization of post-consumer elastomers, have signed an agreement to develop technological innovations and new products and applications with recycled rubber. Devulcanization is the process of selectively breaking chemical bonds that transforms objects in solid rubber, usually granulated, into a workable and mouldable form, ready to be reused in the production of new products, such as tires or gaskets.

The aim of the agreement is to pool their respective expertise to develop and market a new range of elastomer-based products made from granulated rubber from post-consumer products, thus meeting the growing circular economy needs of manufacturers of tires and other rubber products.

Versalis will make available the laboratories of its research centers in Ravenna and Ferrara, as well as the necessary equipment for development, both in terms of formulation and technology. AGR will make its technological platform available at its plant in Cumiana (Turin).

The initiative will be developed in collaboration with the EcoTyre Consortium, which manages a national network for the collection and processing of ELTs (End-of-Life Tires) from which granulated rubber will be obtained. This year has seen several new projects utilizing end-of-life tires as a source of renewable feedstock, including: Wastefront and Vitol partnership; MOL Group’s new recycling plant; Michelin and Enviro; and BASF’s partnership with two pyrolysis startups, New Energy and Pyrum Innovations.

; With this new circular economy initiative, Versalis aims to expand the range of Versalis Revive products, made of recycled materials. This will include the elastomeric materials segment, in which it is leader in terms of technological and application expertise.

*Devulcanization: the process of selectively breaking chemical bonds that transforms objects in solid rubber, usually granulated, into a workable and mouldable form, ready to be reused in the production of new products, such as tires or gaskets.

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