“Adding Value to Waste“
Circular economy to build an eco-friendly society
Carbon black may be an unfamiliar term to those outside the industry, but this nanomaterial is an essential part of many everyday products. It is mainly used in tyres to strengthen rubber but is also used in a variety of rubber products, plastics, packing materials, printing inks and conductive and insulating materials.
Established in 1973, International CSRC Investment Holdings Co., Ltd. is the sole carbon black manufacturer in Taiwan and the sixth largest in the world. Aside from carbon black, the company is also involved in two other businesses: battery production and assembly, particularly high-performance cylindrical cells that drive green energy sustainability; and biotechnology that invests in professional pharmaceutical research and development.
By its very nature, carbon black production is rooted in sustainability. The value chain of carbon black is a model of a circular economy, which refers to a system that eliminates waste through the continual use of resources. The raw materials for carbon black production are residuals from petrochemical and steel industries known as feedstock oil. These “wastes” go through CSRC’s production line and are transformed into high-value carbon black. The process also produces steam, which is used to produce electricity. Not only does circular economy reduce waste and lower environmental pollution, it also drives new industries and technology, creating an economic model of resource recycling.
As one of the world’s largest carbon black producers, CSRC is duty-bound to protect the earth’s resources. Despite geopolitical conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic, CSRC stays focused on its corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals. Relying on its circular economy model of carbon black production and innovative carbon black products, the company uses its core competency to pave a sustainable road and create a green life for humankind.
By integrating environmental and social considerations into product design, the R&D team at CSRC successfully created six green products in 2020, including carbon black for low rolling resistance tyres. These tyres not only reduce fuel consumption, their wear resistance is also greatly improved, providing longer tyre life and a safer drive.
CSRC is also developing non-toxic carbon black products. Rubber, plastics such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polypropylene (PP), and transparent paints and coatings on natural materials may contain high-risk materials such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These organic pollutants have been shown to be harmful to human skin and respiratory tract and are listed as carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. CSRC is committed to reducing PAH content to meet the safety requirements of Germany’s Product Safety Commission (AfPS).
The production of carbon black itself is becoming increasingly greener. Raw materials are 100% locally sourced from oil refineries and steel mills, and 100% of the company’s feedstock oil is recycled and reused. The end product of steam is used to generate power for CSRC plants. In 2020, the Linyuan and Maanshan plants respectively generated 66% and 93% of its own power. The total power generated by these two plants is equivalent to the annual power consumption of 22,000 households.
CSRC is also constantly working on reducing the amount of feedstock oil required to manufacture carbon black. In 2020, the Maanshan plant saved 525 tonnes of feedstock oil, equivalent to a reduction of 1,417 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The company has also switched to carbon black packing materials, moving from paper bags to polyethylene (PE) bags and reducing 43 tonnes of paper waste in 2020.
By constantly pushing itself to mitigate the environmental impact of its operations, CSRC is able to improve efficiency in utilising resources, enhance its market competitiveness, create sustainable values and improve the health of the environment for the good of all.
“The public at large may not have heard of carbon black, but they will nevertheless appreciate not only the products that are made possible with the use of carbon black, but also the efforts of International CSRC Investment Holdings Co., Ltd. to keep the environment in the pink of health.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group