Bolder Industries Providing Circular Solutions For ELTs

Bolder Industries Providing Circular Solutions  For ELTs

Bolder Industries started with the goal of significantly reducing landfilling, drastically cutting emissions, water, and energy usage, and creating local jobs in an emerging industry. They do this by taking end-of-life tires, chemically breaking them down into their original product structures and take the solid chemicals and gaseous chemicals to turn them into liquids and make new, circular products.

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Product driven from the beginning Bolder sought to make a defined product set of products: solid, liquid, gas, using tires as a feedstock and pyrolysis technology to process them.

Today, Bolder has transitioned into an advanced chemical manufacturing business, with a fully operational plant in Terre Haute, Indiana and a newly announced third facility to be built in Antwerp, Belgium.

Dedicated to providing sustainable solutions for end of life tires, Bolder’s flagship product BolderBlack® has been formulated into several tire compounds and used in numerous industrial and automotive applications while BolderOil ™delivers circular solutions for specialty chemicals, petrochemicals, and oil & gas industries.

In the last year, Bolder’s growth track has been marked by partnerships which together are helping unite the industry and provide a closed loop solution to end-of-life tires without supply chain disruptions. For example, the partnerships Bolder has forged with Liberty Tire for feedstock assurance and achieving the best and highest uses for EOL tires has been incredibly important to the company’s ability to deliver on its promises to customers, identify custom circular solutions for specific customers like Pirelli, and in turn, helping Liberty achieve their sustainability goals. Additionally, Bolder’s 10-year agreement with Tauber announced earlier this year has been instrumental in the growth of BolderOil™  both in terms of customers and applications. Tauber’s name combined with their knowledge of the logistics has increased Bolder’s speed to market while Bolder elevates their ability to deliver circular chemicals and petrochemicals to their customers. It’s a classic win-win.

We recently sat down with Bolder Industries’ Vice President of Communication Jessica Hogan to talk about Bolder’s progress, how the industry is changing and what’s driving the industry today. Interestingly, Jessica was born and raised in Borger, Texas where her grandfather, Warren Acker, managed the one of the oldest and largest carbon black production facilities and held several patents for his work to clean up carbon black from the environment—bringing special meaning to her work.

How would you describe Bolder Industries today?

JH: We’re not a pyrolysis company, not a tire recycler, not a technology business. We’re a circular solutions company willing to work across a broad range of segments and industries and, so far, that’s proven to be a critical component of our success and growth. And like many companies that have sustainability and circularity at their core, we’re experiencing a massive uptick in the market, across all segments, for our circular raw materials, BolderBlack® and BolderOil™ — just a couple short years ago we couldn’t even get on the radar of some of the same organizations that are now battling it out with their competitors to get our products. It’s a sea change that we’re certainly glad to see…it’s good for us, but more importantly, it’s good for the entire circular economy and our ailing environment.

Tell us about Bolder’s mission.

JH: Bolder was founded in 2011 and our vision is to deliver circular solutions that will transform manufacturing sustainability worldwide. We are achieving this while significantly reduce landfilling, drastically cutting emissions, water, and energy usage, and creating local jobs in an emerging industry.

After working for years to identify the market needs and requirements for carbon black and reverse-engineering our technology to achieve those parameters, we developed one of the first successful, fully-commercial operations in the industry in 2019. In 2020 we proved we could scale our proprietary technology when we expanded our facility and built our 2nd reactor, which increased our production by 150%. Since then, we have continued to achieve new milestones by pursuing our 2nd facility in Terre Haute, Indiana and announcing our 3rd facility, and charter European location in the NextGen District at the Port of Antwerp.

We’ve also launched the Bolder Center for Circularity that houses our employee training and development programs to ensure operational excellence and replicability of process and consistent product across all of our facilities. We’ve also grown our team to include several exceptional individuals with deep expertise in chemical manufacturing, sustainable project development, and financial strategy that are intensely focused on scaling Bolder globally.

What do you consider Bolder’s biggest success so far?

JH: Well, it’s going to be tough to pick just one. Achieving commercial scale production of BolderBlack® and BolderOil™ in 2019 was a defining moment, no doubt. And then doing it again, only bigger, in 2021 was the icing on the cake. But it’s our customer and partner relationships that I would have to point to as our biggest success so far. Being validated by major tire manufacturers, automotive, construction materials, apparel—inking multi-year agreements with most customers, and knowing we’re inside the tires and vehicles for major manufacturers is a tremendous achievement. And now, we’re seeing the appetite for BolderOil™ grow in the circular chemicals space, which is wonderful.

We also own and operate our own product development team and expert lab, Bledsoe Innovation Group, who work directly with our customers to dial-in formulas and compounds that replaced virgin carbon black with BolderBlack ® anywhere from 10-100% loading. Making product development part of our DNA has been a brilliant move.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

JH: The vast majority of our customers are global so expanding to Antwerp is a customer demand driven project that we’re really excited to see come to fruition. Practically speaking, Antwerp was chosen as one of the largest chemical ports in Europe with spectacular logistics for all our customers. But importantly, this was paired with the fact that we received such a knowledgeable and warm welcome from the entire team at Port of Antwerp. We were an immediate match based on our shared values, our focus on execution, and our passion for sustainability. Also, being situated adjacent to several other innovative circular businesses will mean more opportunities to collaborate, which has been our not-so-secret success formula. Collaboration is critical to achieving circular economies, the ethos of openness and that drives true collaboration comes from our founder and CEO, Tony Wibbeler, who has worked diligently to create cross-industry partnerships that have advanced our business and our entire sector.

Phase 1 of Antwerp is expected to be fully operational in 2024 with other phases to follow. Bolder Industries Antwerp will be tasked with converting over 3 million end-of-life tires from Belgium and the surrounding regions into circular, sustainable products, BolderBlack® and BolderOil™, for delivery to our EMEA customers.

What do most people want to know about Bolder?

JH: The thing we’re asked most often is ‘how did Bolder make it when so many have tried and failed’? And everyone is expecting to hear that we’ve got a magic bullet that nobody else has…and certainly we have developed a significant IP portfolio but the real answer isn’t glamorous. We simply worked harder, thought more deeply, and dug into the nitty gritty details that others may have missed. Our CEO Tony and our Head of Technology, Nate, slept on the floor of our facility for weeks when we were commissioning our first reactor. We spent years plumbing the depths of knowledge that virgin carbon black producers had developed over decades to make sure we understood the product, the customer, the pathway to successful formulations of our material. We didn’t take any shortcuts, we focused on aligned capital, and we’ve been the diligent, deliberate player that has steadily and thoughtfully built a customer-centric manufacturing process and a team that understands what it takes to deliver on market needs. That’s the big secret.

What are Bolder’s goals?

JH:  Well, if it isn’t already apparent, we have big ambitions. To be a circular solutions provider means we have major latitude to grow and develop in markets that are adjacent to our current area of focus. That’s years or decades down the road. For now, we plan to prove we can scale in the US by launching Bolder Industries Terre Haute next year and prove we can expand to the EU with BI Antwerp. We have several other projects in line after those and you’ll hear more about them, most likely, in early 2023.

What makes Bolder unique?

JH: Having personally worked in a number of industries and as a strategic consultant for businesses across the spectrum, I can say beyond a doubt it’s our culture. We have a culture of curiosity, execution, and entrepreneurialism that are rooted in caring for our people. Our culture reigns supreme, allowing everyone here, whether an office manager or our head of technology to take calculated risks without fear of failure. We want to be the most fun and engaging company to work with and anyone that’s met us at our Maryville facility can attest to that fact. It’s a unique place to work.

© Scrap Tire News, December 2022