Solvay to produce tire additive from rice waste in Italy


In Italy, chemical maker Solvay is investing at its Livorno site to manufacture its first highly dispersible silica from sodium silicate derived from rice husk ash.

HDS is used as a tire additive, but also has applications in home and personal care and feed and food. Coupled with renewable energy integration at Livorno, the new process will allow Solvay to achieve a 50% reduction in CO2 per ton of silica.  Production is expected to start by the end of 2024.

Solvay also highlighted the role of leading tiremaker Continental as a key partner in biobased HDS development. “Silica is essential for the high performance of our tires. And with Solvay’s bio-circular silica, our tires will at the same time become more sustainable. It reduces the overall carbon footprint and increases the share of renewable materials in our tires,” Claus Petschick, Head of Sustainability at Continental Tires, said in a press statement. “Rice husk is an agricultural by-product that was not used for tire production until very recently. Soon they will take us one step closer to our goal of 100%sustainable materials in our tires by 2050 at the latest”.

Solvay also has plans to build a new plant in North America over the coming years to expand its HDS capacity.