Tyres from dan­de­lions

Motor Equipment News - - NEWS -

With the aim of pro­vid­ing more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and high­per­for­mance prod­ucts, Su­mit­omo Rub­ber In­dus­tries (SRI) has been ex­am­in­ing the po­ten­tial of Rus­sian dan­de­lions as a new, al­ter­na­tive source of nat­u­ral rub­ber that may one day re­place the con­ven­tional source, Para rub­ber trees, or sim­ply known as rub­ber trees.

SRI has an­nounced joint re­search with Kul­te­vat, an emerg­ing Amer­i­can biotech com­pany, to­wards find­ing prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions for nat­u­ral rub­ber de­rived from Rus­sian dan­de­lions.

Kul­te­vat serves sus­tain­able agri­cul­tural mar­kets, pri­mar­ily by the pro­duc­tion of rub­ber and mixed sugar feed stocks for bio­fu­els. Kul­te­vat has vast ex­pe­ri­ence in the com­mer­cial util­i­sa­tion of plant ma­te­ri­als to de­velop prof­itable, sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­men­tally-be­nign sources of rub­ber, and aims to re­duce near-to­tal de­pen­dence on for­eign sources of rub­ber glob­ally.

SRI be­lieves the process can be ac­cel­er­ated through the com­bi­na­tion of Kul­te­vat’s biomass tech­nol­ogy and the pro­pri­etary tech­nolo­gies that SRI has pi­o­neered. These tech­nolo­gies have al­ready found prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions, such as the re­place­ment of petroleum­based tyre ma­te­ri­als with fos­sil­re­source free ma­te­ri­als.

Un­like rub­ber trees, Rus­sian dan­de­lions can be grown in tem­per­ate re­gions, mean­ing their cul­ti­va­tion is pos­si­ble through­out much of the world.

The re­search with Rus­sian dan­de­lions will pro­mote greater use of nat­u­ral re­sources and ex­pand their re­gions of pro­duc­tion, which will en­able SRI to se­cure a re­li­able and ef­fi­cient sup­ply of nat­u­ral raw ma­te­ri­als at pro­duc­tion bases around the world.

Ul­ti­mately this will al­low SRI to pro­vide a steady sup­ply of high-per­for­mance tyres with low en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact to a broader mar­ket.

As global tyre de­mand con­tin­ues to ex­pand, SRI’s goals are to re­duce the re­liance on fos­sil re­sources such as petroleum and coal, which make up ap­prox­i­mately 60 per­cent of a con­ven­tional tyre, and pro­mote the use of sus­tain­able nat­u­ral re­sources.

The Rus­sian dan­de­lion re­search is not the first time SRI has looked for en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able so­lu­tions.

SRI has also de­vel­oped a 100 per­cent fos­sil re­source-free tyre, dubbed the Enasave 100. Re­leased to Ja­pan in Novem­ber 2013, it stands as the world’s first 100 per­cent fos­sil re­source-free tyres made from all-nat­u­ral re­sources (since the use of syn­thetic rub­ber be­came stan­dard). It was a tech­ni­cal feat made pos­si­ble thanks to SRI’s pro­pri­etary biomass tech­nol­ogy, which has en­abled SRI to suc­cess­fully re­place all of a tyre’s fos­sil-fuel ma­te­ri­als with nat­u­ral re­sources.

SRI has also been work­ing on more ef­fi­cient uses of nat­u­ral re­sources and has de­vel­oped Ul­tra-Pure Nat­u­ral Rub­ber (UPNR).

This was en­gi­neered in pur­suit of higher per­for­mance nat­u­ral rub­ber. UPNR is al­ready be­ing used in the Enasave Next, SRI’s flag­ship fu­el­ef­fi­cient tyre. The Enasave Next has re­ceived the high­est pos­si­ble AAA-a rat­ing for rolling re­sis­tance and wet grip per­for­mance un­der Ja­pan’s tyre la­belling sys­tem.

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