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Turning Russian dandelions into rubber for car tyres

Japanese tyre maker, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, has begun exploring how it might produce rubber for car tyres from Russian dandelions.

RUSSIAN DANDELIONS might prove to be an environmentally friendly source of rubber for car tyres, according to Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI). Indeed, the company says they could one day replace the traditional rubber tree as a source of rubber.

According to SRI, “ Unlike rubber trees, Russian dandelions can be grown in temperate regions, meaning their cultivation is possible in North America and throughout much of the world. The research with Russian dandelions will promote greater use of natural resources and expand their regions of production. This 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”.

SRI has announced it will work on the project to assess the viability of Russian dandelions with US biotech company, Kultevat. Kultevat already has experience in using plant materials to produce environmentally-benign sources of rubber.

“SRI’s goals are to reduce the reliance on fossil resources such as petroleum and coal, which make up approximately 60% of a conventional tyre, and promote the use of sustainable natural resources,” a statement reads.

The company is no stranger to using environmentally-friendly products to produce tyres, 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 fuel-efficient 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,” SRI said.

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober