After three years as a major, confidential investor in a tire recycling project, Bridgestone Americas Inc. is assuming the role of minority investor.

The Delta-Energy Group (DEG) announced a new majority investor, Castleton Commodities International LLC (CCI), and at the same time said Bridgestone would take on a lesser role. DEG says it has developed and patented a process to recover carbon black and marketable liquid chemicals from used tires.

DEG says Bridgestone was the company's first investor outside of its founders, and that the tire maker's "infusion of capital has allowed DEG to prove concepts and attract new investments to accelerate development."

“Bridgestone remains committed to its environmental mission which includes continually improving natural resource conservation through operational improvements and product design," says Bill Thompson, chief operating officer at Bridgestone. "We supported Delta-Energy early due to its potential to develop a process and circular economy market for used tires domestically and internationally." The tire maker says the project's new investor "is validation of the potential for this market and technology and should accelerate development going forward.”

More than 270 million passenger and truck tires reach their useful life each year in the U.S., creating an opportunity for millions of tons of end-of-use tires to be repurposed and processed into high-value products.

Proceeds from the investment will be used to develop a commercial scale plant in Natchez, Miss., with an estimated daily processing capacity of 100 tons of end of use tires. DEG’s commercial plant will recover carbon black and other basic materials for reuse in tire production and other rubber-related manufacturing processes, as well as liquid solvents and fuels.

“The founders of Delta-Energy have achieved technological proof of concept in large part thanks to early-stage support from Bridgestone," says Nicholas Haslett, chief strategy officer at CCI. "As an industry leader, Bridgestone’s commitment to Delta-Energy validates the quality and market potential for the company’s products.

"CCI will bring experience in developing and operating midstream and conversion assets, as well as access to one of the largest physical oil liquids marketing franchises, while Bridgestone will provide offtake capacity for DEG-produced recovered carbon black and continue to identify opportunities to substitute the DEG recovered product for virgin carbon black.”