The plant will supply Orion with tire pyrolysis oil to produce sustainable carbon black

HOUSTON – Orion S.A. (NYSE: OEC), a global specialty chemicals company, announced today it is investing in Alpha Carbone, a French tire recycling company. The partnership will enable Alpha Carbone to scale up and produce commercial volumes of tire pyrolysis oil and recovered carbon black.

The cooperation also includes a long-term supply agreement with Orion as the exclusive customer for the tire pyrolysis oil produced by Alpha Carbone. The oil will be used by Orion to manufacture circular carbon black for tire and rubber goods customers.

“This investment enables Orion to make large-scale volumes of circular grades of carbon black for our rubber customers who are seeking sustainable solutions,” Orion CEO Corning Painter said. “It further strengthens Orion’s position as an innovator focused on the future and accelerating the transition to a circular economy.”

An estimated 500,000 metric tons of tires are discarded annually in France. For years, Orion has been working closely with major tire companies to develop circular carbon black. Tire pyrolysis is the only proven technology to produce circular carbon black that can be used in new tires.

Alpha Carbone’s tire pyrolysis process takes the discarded end-of-life tires and exposes them to high temperatures, removing wire, mesh and other materials. The process also reduces the tires to synthetic gas, recovered carbon black and tire pyrolysis oil.

Orion is the only company that has made circular carbon black from 100% tire pyrolysis oil as a feedstock. The company has also demonstrated that its circular products can replace virgin carbon black in many applications.

Alpha Carbone’s plant is expected to start up in late 2025. Besides the pyrolysis oil supplied to Orion, Alpha Carbone will sell the recovered carbon black to its own customers primarily under long-term contracts.

“This investment will allow Alpha Carbone to bring its Dole, France, facility to the best industrial level in order to supply the growing demands for quality recovered carbon black and tire pyrolysis oil to our customers. This new step aligns with the strategy of Alpha Carbone’s main shareholder, Alpha Recyclage Franche Comté, to offer the best possible solution for recycling end-of-life tires,” said Laura Pech, CEO of Alpha Carbone.

About Orion S.A.

Orion S.A. (NYSE: OEC) is a leading global supplier of carbon black, a solid form of carbon produced as powder or pellets. The material is made to customers’ exacting specifications for tires, coatings, ink, batteries, plastics and numerous other specialty, high-performance applications. Carbon black is used to tint, colorize, provide reinforcement, conduct electricity, increase durability and add UV protection. Orion has four innovation centers and produces carbon black at 15 plants worldwide, offering the most diverse variety of production processes in the industry. The company’s corporate lineage goes back more than 160 years to Germany, where it operates the world’s longest-running carbon black plant. Orion is a leading innovator, applying a deep understanding of customers’ needs to deliver sustainable solutions. For more information, please visit orioncarbons.com.

About Alpha Carbone:

Alpha Carbone is a steam-pyrolysis company, based in France, focusing for over 15 years on producing rCB and TPO from end-of-life tires. Alpha Carbone has its main plant in Dole, right next to the group‘s main facility for collection and recovery of end-of-life tires. Alpha Carbone has a joined laboratory with Ecole des Mines d’Albi for R&D purposes.

Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of the particular statement. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information, other than as required by applicable law.

Contacts:

William Foreman
Orion S.A.
Director of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs
william.foreman@orioncarbons.com
+1 281-889-7833

Wendy Wilson
Orion S.A.
Head of Investor Relations
wendy.wilson@orioncarbons.com
+1 281-974-0155

 

 

HOUSTON – Orion S.A. (NYSE: OEC), a global specialty chemicals company, on Tuesday broke ground on a plant in Texas that will be the only facility in the U.S. producing acetylene-based conductive additives for lithium-ion batteries and other applications vital for the global shift to electrification.

The site in the city of La Porte, southeast of Houston, will create many high-skilled jobs – both in construction and technical fields – and bring innovative technology to the American economy. The battery additives produced by Orion’s plant will be super clean, with only one-tenth of the carbon footprint of other commonly used materials.

“Orion is already the sole producer of acetylene-based conductive additives in Europe,” Orion CEO Corning Painter said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Our plant in La Porte will be a pivotal step toward strengthening the regional supply of conductive additives in the rapidly growing U.S. battery market.”

With golden shovels, the ground is broken for Orion's plant in La Porte, Texas. From left to right, Orion Senior Vice President Sandra Niewiem, LyondellBasell Executive Vice President Kim Foley, La Porte City Manager Corby Alexander and Orion CEO Corning Painter.
With golden shovels, the ground is broken for Orion’s plant in La Porte, Texas. From left to right, Orion Senior Vice President Sandra Niewiem, LyondellBasell Executive Vice President Kim Foley, La Porte City Manager Corby Alexander and Orion CEO Corning Painter.

Every battery requires conductive additives. They enable a more efficient flow of electricity and extend the lifetime of lithium-ion batteries – the most valuable components of electric vehicles. The material also plays an essential role in high-voltage cables used for wind and solar farms.

The additives produced at the La Porte plant will be made from acetylene, a colorless gas that Orion’s production process turns into powder with exceptional purity demanded by leading battery manufacturers. The acetylene will be supplied by a neighboring site owned by Equistar Chemicals LP, a subsidiary of LyondellBasell.

At Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Kim Foley, LyondellBasell executive vice president of Global Olefins and Polyolefins, Refining and Supply Chain, said “At LYB, we see electrification as a crucial part of our plan to reduce carbon emissions across our industries. By supporting the production of key battery components, we’re contributing to solutions for a better tomorrow.”

Orion’s plant in La Porte is similar to one the company has in the city of Berre-l’Étang in southern France. The facility also uses acetylene from LyondellBasell.

With the LaPorte project, key equipment procurement and off-site fabrication are already at an advanced stage. Field construction activities are ramping up, with the facility start-up expected in the second quarter of 2025.

About Orion S.A.

Orion S.A. (NYSE: OEC) is a leading global supplier of carbon black, a solid form of carbon produced as powder or pellets. The material is made to customers’ exacting specifications for tires, coatings, ink, batteries, plastics and numerous other specialty, high-performance applications. Carbon black is used to tint, colorize, provide reinforcement, conduct electricity, increase durability and add UV protection. Orion has four innovation centers and produces carbon black at 15 plants worldwide, offering the most diverse variety of production processes in the industry. The company’s corporate lineage goes back more than 160 years to Germany, where it operates the world’s longest-running carbon black plant. Orion is a leading innovator,

applying a deep understanding of customers’ needs to deliver sustainable solutions. For more information, please visit orioncarbons.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of the particular statement. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information, other than as required by applicable law.

Contacts:

William Foreman
Orion S.A.
Director of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs
william.foreman@orioncarbons.com
+1 281-889-7833

 

Wendy Wilson
Orion S.A.
Head of Investor Relations
wendy.wilson@orioncarbons.com
+1 281-974-0155

 

HOUSTON – Orion S.A. (NYSE: OEC), a specialty chemicals company, today celebrated the completion of its first greenfield project – a carbon black plant in eastern China that will supply fast-growing demand in Asia.

The facility in the city of Huaibei in Anhui province will produce carbon black for a variety of applications, including coatings, printing inks, rubber, polymers, fiber and rubber. The site’s two production lines have a total capacity of 70 kilotons per year.

“The Huaibei facility is a huge milestone for Orion. The state-of-the-art plant enables us to better support our Chinese customers with products that are made in China,” Orion CEO Corning Painter said. “Now we can reallocate production lines in the U.S. and Europe so that we can increase supply to customers in those markets.”

Orion’s other plant in China is in Qingdao in the eastern province of Shandong. The facility, built in 1994, produces carbon black grades for tires, mechanical rubber goods and specialty applications.

Painter commended everyone on the Huaibei project team for overcoming the extreme challenges posed by the Covid-19 virus.

“Despite the constant disruption during the worst periods of the pandemic, our employees, contractors and leadership team kept the project on track,” the CEO said. “As always, we put the safety, health and the welfare of our people first, providing nutritious meals, warm beds, testing and medical care. But still, it was the heroic dedication of our team that delivered this project under extremely trying circumstances.”

About Orion S.A.

Orion S.A. (NYSE: OEC) is a leading global supplier of carbon black, a solid form of carbon produced as powder or pellets. The material is made to customers’ exacting specifications for tires, coatings, ink, batteries, plastics and numerous other specialty, high-performance applications. Carbon black is used to tint, colorize, provide reinforcement, conduct electricity, increase durability and add UV protection. Orion has four innovation centers and produces carbon black at 15 plants worldwide, offering the most diverse variety of production processes in the industry. The company’s corporate lineage goes back more than 160 years to Germany, where it operates the world’s longest-running carbon black plant. Orion is a leading innovator, applying a deep understanding of customers’ needs to deliver sustainable solutions. For more information, please visit orioncarbons.com.

Contacts:

William Foreman

Director of Corporate Communications and

Government Affairs

Orion S.A.

Direct: +1 832-445-3305

Mobile: +1 281-889-7833

william.foreman@orioncarbons.com

 

Wendy Wilson

Head of Investor Relations

Orion S.A.

Direct: +1 281-974-0155

wendy.wilson@orioncarbons.com

 

Markus Mahn was recently having a brainstorming session with his colleagues in Orion’s Coatings team. They wanted to develop a better way to show customers the variety of shades of black that Orion offers and the visual differences.

They eventually came up with the idea of creating a Carbon Black Guide that would provide a sweeping visual overview of the wide variety of pigments.

“After researching the market, it became apparent that none of our competitors offered this kind of resource for customers,” said Markus, director and head of marketing for Coatings systems.

The team developed a 32-page zigzag pamphlet with 102 different coating chips with technical information. The chips are derived from the 34 most popular carbon black pigments, each of which is visualized in black tone, gray and metallic.

 

“A major challenge was the question of which particular pigments to select since there are many more than just 34 pigments,” Markus said. “The challenge was overcome by involving all the world’s regions in the selection process so that the tool could be used globally.”

The team also consulted with external painters, printers and design agencies outside of Orion as well as internal laboratories, technical marketing and the coloristic staff.

The handy pamphlet was designed so that it can be easily folded up and tucked into the pocket of a lab coat.

At trade shows in 2022, the tool has been received with amazement by customers.

Markus said, “I’ll know that the Carbon Black Guide has been a success if I visit our customers a year later and see that the pamphlet’s corners and edges are worn down and dog-eared because of constant use.”

 

When Kiran Valluri was 10 years old, one of the world’s worst industrial accidents happened in her home country of India. A gas leak at a pesticide plant killed at least 2,000 people in the central city of Bhopal. She learned about the disaster from her parents, whose morning routine included reading the newspaper to her as she prepared for school.

Kiran felt a powerful urge to help the victims, but over the years, Bhopal faded from her memory. Her interest in mathematics, physics and chemistry inspired her to major in civil engineering in college.

“That’s when everything came back to me about the Bhopol incident,” said Kiran, Orion’s environmental, health and safety leader for the Americas. “That’s why I chose environmental engineering for an MS degree. I’ve worked in the environmental field ever since then.”

Kiran shared her story during a panel discussion at Orion’s principal executive offices in Spring, Texas. The event celebrated the U.N.’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science.  The wide-ranging discussion included topics such as overcoming gender stereotypes, pursuing promotions and making your voice heard in meetings.

The panel was moderated by Nicole Lewis, Orion’s senior director of operations in the Americas, who has a chemical engineering degree, MBA and 20 years of experience in industry. Also on the panel was Jennifer Stroh, Orion’s director of specialty sales and marketing for the Americas. She has a B.S. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering.

Not ready yet

Women are often denied a promotion because they are told they are “not ready yet.” The panelists discussed how they have overcome such a misperception or bias against them.

“It’s important to find your network, find your group, find your mentor,” Nicole said. “I was fortunate early on in my supervisory roles to find someone who believed in me and would work with me to make sure I was ready. And I still stay in touch with that guy to this day. We probably talk once every couple of weeks.”

Nicole added she also took some risks in her career. “When people said, ‘Hey, I don’t think you’re ready,’ I dug in my heels, and I said, ‘I know I’m ready, and I know I can do it,’ and I did it. Sometimes you have to take those scary moves.”

Kiran noted that men often get promoted for their potential, while women must prove themselves to get the same things. “I hate to say that. You have to volunteer and do additional work. You need to work hard,” she said.

Also important is building good relationships — not only with your direct supervisor but also with a variety of different members of the leadership and management team, Jennifer said.

“Throughout my career, I have made a variety of what I call unsolicited pitches,” she added. “Seeing a problem, digging through the details, realizing how it can be done better, then telling anyone who would listen.”

Becoming a plant manager

The panel discussed the challenges women face becoming a plant manager in the chemicals industry. Nicole, who has worked in the role, said she has seen a shift over the years. Orion has three plant managers who are women.

“Looking at when I got out of school and started working in plants, being the only woman there, if I wore my coveralls out into the plant, all the contractors would say, ‘Who’s this woman in the plant? What is she doing here?’”

Although there has been progress, she said, women still have a ways to go. “I had the opportunity to go to a Society of Women Engineers conference this past year,” Nicole added, “and I met quite a few young engineers who said, ‘I’ve never met a female plant manager.’”

Claiming space in meetings

Studies have reported that during meetings, men interrupt or talk over women much more often than women do it to men. The panelists discussed how they claim their space and protect their airtime.

“If I have a point, I will interrupt,” Kiran said, noting that keeping quiet or feeling intimidated could put the company, employees and the community at risk when it comes to environmental, health and safety issues.

Nicole tries to look on the bright side and recognize that people interrupt because they are passionate and have something to share. “I’ll write down what I want to say. When they are done, I will speak. There are many times when I say, ‘Hey, hang on, I’m almost finished, just let me finish this thought.’ You have to read your audience and understand what’s the other person’s intent.”

Jennifer added that the meeting’s leader should be cognizant that someone is getting cut off and help redirect the discussion. But there are times when you can’t win, she added, and it’s not possible to be heard in a meeting.

“For me, I say the topic isn’t over until I say it’s over, even if the meeting ends,” Jennifer said. “You can still call those individuals. You can still get your point across. Data is your friend. One of my favorite sayings at work and at home is just because you’re loud doesn’t make you right.”