Tosoh forms fuel-efficient tire material JV in S. Korea with Namhae Chemical

22, Jun. 2020

Photo by Robert Laursoo on Unsplash
Photo by Robert Laursoo on Unsplash

SEOUL, NNA - Japan’s Tosoh Silica Corp., a chemical company and wholly owned subsidiary of Tosoh Corp., has decided to set up a joint venture with South Korea’s Namhae Chemical Corp. to produce silica to be used in fuel-efficient tires to meet robust demand.

Demand for silica is expected to increase on the back of a shift to vehicle electrification and progress in fuel-efficiency. Currently, the global market for silica in the use of fuel-efficient tires stands at one million tons, which is projected to expand at an average annual growth rate of 5 percent, a Tosoh Corp. spokesman told NNA on Friday.

The new venture, Tosoh Namhae Silica Corp., based in the southern province of Jeolla in South Korea, was established on March 3 this year and is expected to start commercial operation in October 2021. Tosoh Silica has a 67 percent stake in the venture, while Namhae, which makes chemical fertilizers, owns 33 percent.

Details of annual production output as well as operational costs have not been disclosed.

This will be the second production base for Tosoh Silica, after its factory in the city of Shunan in Yamaguchi Prefecture in Japan. The tires manufactured in South Korea will be supplied to the local market as well as overseas.

Silica has been used in tire production as a substitute for carbon black. It exhibits superior effectiveness in improving tire performance by reducing rolling resistance, which then leads to enhanced automotive fuel economy.

The characteristics of silica tires also include high frictional force and high braking performance on wet roads, providing good wet grip and fuel economy, according to Tosoh Silica.

Silica to be used in fuel-efficient tires (Photo courtesy of Tosoh)
Silica to be used in fuel-efficient tires (Photo courtesy of Tosoh)