The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending EUR 15 million to Turkish chemicals maker Egesil Kimya Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., majority owned by Germany’s Evonik Industries, to increase production of precipitated silica, a key component of energy-efficient tires that reduce carbon emissions, according to a news release from the EBRD.
The loan will help build a new production facility in Sakarya, Turkey, next to the company’s existing facility. It will increase the specialty chemicals manufacturer’s annual production capacity of precipitated silica by 40,000 tonnes.
Demand for highly dispersible silica is strong and growing in the global tire industry to replace carbon black, the traditional filler material in tire manufacturing. Silica increases the grip and adhesion of tires and has better anti-skid properties. It also reduces fuel consumption by lowering rolling resistance, the EBRD said.
The new facility is expected to become operational by 2020. It will help make carbon emissions savings of around 67,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year during the life cycle of tires. The EBRD Strategy for Turkey emphasizes contributing to the improvement of energy and resource efficiency and to the further integration of medium-sized private Turkish companies into global value chains. The project is also part of the EBRD’s Green Economy Transition (GET) approach, as 100% of the Bank’s loan will be used for green investments.
Egesil Kimya has been chosen among various subsidiaries of Evonik, the world’s largest silica producer, to house the capacity increase targeted to supply the European automotive tire industry. The company’s existing facility has a very good track record, and strong demand for its product and full order books triggered the need to expand capacity, according to the news release.
The EBRD has invested almost EUR 11 billion in close to 280 projects in Turkey, with a focus on investment in sustainable energy, improving infrastructure, strengthening the competitiveness of the private sector, deepening capital and local currency markets, and promoting regional and youth inclusion and gender equality, the news release reads.