Nippon Silica Industrial Co., Ltd. (NSI), a subsidiary of Tosoh Corp., has completed Japan's first plant specializing in the production of silica (white carbon) for fuel-efficient tires. The first stage of the project allows a production capacity of 10,000 tons per year. Combined with the existing production capacity for silica for fuel-efficient tires, supply capability has risen by 300%. The second stage of the project, with an additional 10,000 tons per year, is slated for completion in spring 2003. Total investment in the project is roughly JPY 2.0 billion.
In Europe, 70-80% of all passenger cars are equipped with silica-enhanced tires. The benefits of using silica include an improvement in the rolling resistance of the tire, which can result in a 5-6% reduction in fuel consumption and increased driving stability on wet surfaces.
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