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The Second Life of Tires: Polish Contec Secures €15M to Fuel the CEE Clean Tech Industry

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Image credit: Krzysztof Wróblewski, the CEO Contec, and Krzysztof Pruszyński
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  • Polish clean tech startup Contec specializing in upcycling tires raises €15M to triple its sustainable raw materials production capacity in Szczecin, Poland, and expand to Europe.
  • The investment was secured from VINCI, a subsidiary of a leading Polish Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, Warsaw Equity Group, a private investment company, and, newly, Blachy Pruszyński, the largest Polish manufacturer of steel roofing and facades.
  • Upon the project’s expansion, the company plans to have the capacity to process 33,000 tons of end-of-life tires yearly.

 

Every year, over 1 billion end-of-life tires (ELTs) are discarded worldwide, often dumped in landfills or burned. As a result, their improper disposal causes environmental issues, including land and air pollution. According to a report by Inkwood Research, the global ELT management market was valued at $9.1B in 2022, with forecasts to reach $14.8B by 2032.

With clean technology developments and innovation, ELTs can now be repurposed by adopting a circular economy approach. Moreover, major tire manufacturers have committed to incorporating at least 30% sustainable materials in producing new tires by 2030.

 

“For many years, we have been supporting the efforts of the manufacturing sector to promote environmental sustainability and circularity. Contec’s circular products significantly reduce the carbon footprint by more than five times compared to traditional fossil fuel-based raw materials. That’s why there is a great deal of interest in Recovered Carbon Black for the tire, manufactured rubber goods, plastics, and pigment industries,” says Krzysztof Wróblewski, CEO of Contec.

 

The rising focus on CEE clean tech investments

As the Net Zero Future50 report by PwC and Wolves Summit highlighted, the CEE region witnessed a notable clean tech investment growth of 57% CAGR from 2013-2020. During this period, over 170 regional startups secured $1.7B. Poland, Europe’s sixth-largest economy, ranked fifth in terms of investment volume.

The increasing significance and potential of clean tech investment in the region reflects a favorable trend towards sustainable and environmentally friendly initiatives.

Read more:  The Future of Animal-Free Meat: 6 CEE FoodTech Startups Revolutionizing Your Protein Diet

 

Contec’s expansion plans on the European clean tech market

Contec specializes in the chemical recycling of ELTs, converting them into circular rubber and plastic materials. The startup creates low-carbon-footprint products for the manufacturing industry, including recovered carbon black, recovered tire pyrolysis oil, and recovered steel. The current investment of €15M marks one of the most substantial funding rounds in the European clean tech sector in 2023.

Contec plant in Szczecin, Poland
Contec plant in Szczecin, Poland

The latest fundraising round is also a major milestone for the company’s growth as the demand for circular products exceeded the current production capacity of Contec’s Szczecin plant. 

The expansion of the Szczecin plant is already underway, and additional production lines will start operating in early 2024. The investment will also support the company’s R&D projects focused on exploring new applications of products and advancing technology development.

Additionally, Contec is actively searching for suitable locations to build new commercial plants across Europe.

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