Driving the sustainability push: Vitaly Khusidman, CEO of G3C Technologies

The specific piece of the puzzle G3C Technologies is innovative in addressing is the harms presented by billions of tires each year that reach their end of life.  rpra.ca photo.

G3C Technologies looks for and implements solutions for climate change

By Matt Chester

This article was published by the Chester Energy and Policy blog on Dec. 17, 2018.

Fighting the perils of climate change and environmental degradation won’t just happen by willing it into being, but through organizations and individuals using their ingenuity to seek out and implement solutions.

One such organization looking to solve a slice of these existential dangers is G3C Technologies (G3CT), and one such individual is G3CT’s founder and CEO Vitaly Khusidman.

The specific piece of the puzzle G3C Technologies is innovative in addressing is the harms presented by billions of tires each year that reach their end of life.

Such used tires have a small menu of options facing them: end up in landfills (where they will contribute to soil deterioration and vanishing space with which to dump); get reused or recycled in applications like road pavement or sports fields (where contamination of soil and groundwater is a concern); or be disposed of through incineration (a sector responsible for millions of tons of CO2 emissions each year).

Not satisfied with these options, Vitaly and G3C Technologies developed a state-of-the-art process for converting end-of-life tires into recovered carbon black that can then be used to make brand new tires or other products that typically require ‘virgin’ carbon black, like plastic auto parts, paints, and semi-conductive parts.

G3C carbon black tires sustainability clean tech
Source: G3C Technologies

An in-depth review of this technology and the positive effects it could have on the scrap tire industry can be found in my previous article covering G3C Technologies, but now I’ve had a chance to sit down with Vitaly and ask him some of the pressing questions about G3CT that were still on my mind.

History of G3C Technologies

Matt Chester: Vitaly, thank you so much for being willing to sit down with me. I wanted to start by asking about your background and the path you took before creating G3C Technologies.

Vitaly Khusidman: Of course. My PhD was in computer science, specifically real-time process control. I was designing and architecting control systems for nuclear power plants, chemical plants, and material handling.

For example, I have architected and led designing and commissioning of the largest in the world, at the time, FedEx sorting hubs in Newark and Alliance Fort-Worth Airports. Later, I started two consultancy companies that provided architecture services for Fortune 100 and 500 companies, as well as other public, private, and government organizations.

Between the two consulting companies, I worked for Unisys as a Director and Executive Architect.

Throughout my career, I was always involved in innovation from technology and business perspectives. I have extended experience in leading multi-functional international teams of scientists, engineers, marketing, and sales professionals.

I have learned how to make international teams, who are often separated by distance, time zones, languages, and cultures, work together towards common objectives and achieve outstanding results.

These skills prepared me for today and with G3C Technologies.  For close to the last four years at G3C Technologies, I added scrap tire and carbon black technological and marketing expertise to my knowledge vault.

Chester: And once your path brought you to the G3C Technologies idea, how did that start?

Khusidman: G3CT was established in 2015 with an objective of investigating and commercializing a waste-to-energy technology that was developed in the Republic of Georgia. We, luckily for us, decided to test the technology on scrap tires.

To validate the technology, we have formed our own team of scientists from the Agladze Institute of Inorganic and Electrochemistry of the Tbilisi State University and that same time is still with us now, though it has grown in size.

We quickly realized that the technology we were investigating did not represent a good commercial opportunity [for waste-to-energy]. We have dropped that original technology and continued experimentation on tires, while trying various methods, which were never used before for processing scrap tires.

The results of our experiments on scrap tires showed the potential to produce high-quality carbon black with a completely new technology. We’ve since seized the opportunity on this new technology (now called G3C Technology) by completely changing the company’s direction towards waste-to-wealth, in our case scrap tires to carbon black.

After nine months of literature and patents research, as well as intensive experimentation, we filed for a patent in March of 2016, which was granted to G3CT in May of 2017.

The technologies

Chester: That’s a great story about how what might have been seen as a failure at the time turned into a new and unforeseen opportunity. Let’s talk about what that opportunity affords, specifically the benefits of G3CT’s patented process to convert tires into recovered carbon black. First, your website talks about the ability to eliminate carbon emissions from the life-cycle of tires– exactly how great of an impact is that?

Khusidman: The goal is to replace the old paradigm of tires with a brand new one. Currently, tires go through the following life-cycle: from fossil fuels converted to 30 million tons of virgin carbon black per year which are converted to new tires of which up to 50 per cent get disposed of through incineration after they’re used and become scrap tires.

The new paradigm has the scrap tires instead converted into carbon black that can be used to create new tires, which at the end of their life can once again be converted to carbon black for new tires.

This shift from old paradigm to new paradigm reduces cumulative carbon emissions of the process by 80 per cent, but of course it’s important to note that not all virgin carbon black can be replaced with the recovered version.

Chester: Is G3CT the first company to find this sort of technology, or are you just doing it better than anyone has before?

Khusidman: The idea to reuse materials hidden in scrap tires is not new. Existing processes, known as Generation 1 and Generation 2 pyrolysis, use traditional methods to produce low-grade recovered carbon black from scrap tires.

Our technology, though, is the first and only representative of Generation 3 technologies, which go beyond pyrolysis. Our technology allows us to produce not only low-grade recovered carbon black, but also the high-grade recovered carbon black that has the potential to fulfill the grades of carbon black required by industry. Doing so would enable a true and complete circular economy.

circular economy recycled tires sustainability rubber
Source: K & S

Chester: Aside from a reduction in the carbon footprint of tires, what other benefits does such technology offer?

Khusidman: There are plenty of other benefits! Using G3C as a proper method of disposal reduces the reliance on oil and gas resources. It eliminates waste in landfills– which are breeding environments for mosquitoes and rodents.

The resultant energy surplus from the G3C process can be utilized and/or sold. Minimizing the instances of recycled tires in ground rubber will eliminate the resultant soil contamination coming from decomposition. The steel removed from tires before the G3C process can even be reused, too.

Market opportunity and roll out strategy

Chester: Shifting from the technology to the market: how big do you envision the market for G3C could get? And what’s the growth plan to get to that maximum potential?

Khusidman: The total addressable market for G3C is over 12 million tons of carbon black, valued at over $17 billion per year, while the new and exclusive addressable market is over 4 million tons and $5 billion.

To reach this point, our roadmap is as follows. First, we’ll design, build, and test a pilot G3C production line for conversion of scrap tires to recovered carbon black and develop a portfolio of high market demand and recovered carbon black products.

Next, we’ll retrofit G3C equipment into existing scrap tire processing plants. Following that, we’ll offer a turn-key plant system to augment existing or build out new tire conversion plants.

Then ultimately, we’ll establish a worldwide build, own, & operate plant network to capture a large portion of the world market.

Source: Based on data from Notch Consulting, Inc.

Chester: You’re currently in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to raise capital for this product– can you talk about why you chose crowdfunding as the right way to raise funds?

Khusidman: Crowdfunding is an experiment for us. We are only in the beginning and are not sure how successful the campaign will be. The reason we have decided to try crowdfunding is because we believe that our mission is shared by a large number of people in the United States and around the world.

We hoped that the public will take advantage of an opportunity to participate in a project that’s so important to our world, while also enjoying a healthy return in case of project success.

Chester: That seems like a great strategy with which to approach crowdfunding. Have you found any unexpected challenges with the campaign?

Khusidman: Yes, we have overwhelming support by thousands of people around the world in expressing their approval and appreciation for what we are doing on social media, but when it comes to investing their money the support is much more modest.

We hoped that people will support their passion for environment with monetary contribution in a form of small investments, but unfortunately this is not happening in the significant quantities we had thought, just yet.

Chester: If the crowdfunding campaign falls short of its goal, do you have a plan B ready to deploy?

Khusidman: We do. If we reach our maximum target goal on the crowdfunding campaigns, those funds would go towards the development of a portfolio of high demand recovered carbon black products and completion of a pilot production line in the Republic of Georgia.

If we collect less than that maximum, though, the proceeds would go just to the portfolio of recovered carbon black products and the pilot production line would need to be funded from other sources– whether that’s by venture capital, private investment, or part of a project paid by a customer.

Long-term plans

Chester: What is the long-term outlook for G3C? How soon do you plan to have plants up and running?

Khusidman: We expect to have an initial portfolio of recovered carbon black products and the pilot production line ready by the end of 2019 and have our first plant-building contracts signed and started in 2020. The demo production line would be completed by the end of 2020, and after that the number of new plant building contracts will start.

Chester: Ending on a note of positive outlook– what has  you most optimistic about the future of G3C? Why are you so confident in your technology, your mission, and your strategy?

Khusidman: We believe that our technology opens a new page in the history of recovered carbon black and establishes carbon black circular economy. We’ve received two types of feedback from people in the industry.

Some experts question whether the testing results we have received in certified labs are real, since such results were never achieved before. However, we receive immensely positive feedback from the majority of people in the industry who recognize the market disruptor this technology could be.

One of my favourites to quote is Martin von Wolfersdorff of Wolfersdorff Consulting Berlin, a company who works in tire pyrolysis and alternative rubber fillers. Martin has said “We believe this technology will open new markets which are currently not accessible for other commercial grades of recovered carbon black.”

— End of interview.

We agree with Martin’s assessment, and once we prove the possibility to the rest of the world, there’s no stopping the potential of G3C Technologies.

If you enjoyed this post and you would like to get the newest posts from the Chester Energy and Policy blog delivered straight to your inbox, please consider subscribing today

To see other posts about sustainability-minded organizations, see this article on Solar Head of Statethis article on the altE Store, and this article on crowdfunding in renewable energy.  

About the author: Matt Chester is an energy analyst in Washington DC, studied engineering and science & technology policy at the University of Virginia, and operates this blog and website to share news, insights, and advice in the fields of energy policy, energy technology, and more. For more quick hits in addition to posts on this blog, follow him on Twitter @ChesterEnergy.

Facebook Comments

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.