Kwik Fit | Monday 12th August 2019 2:00pm
Research and development into new sustainable materials for tyres is an area where manufacturers are investing a lot of time and money in. Continental are looking into developing tyres made from dandelion instead of the traditional rubber.
The number of cars on the roads is already large at roughly 1.2 billion cars. However, this is expected to double over the next 30 years. According to estimates, it is expected that there will be around 2.5 billion cars on the roads by 2050. This poses significant environmental challenges particularly in regards to the materials used in vehicle manufacturing and the impact on the planet of the cars themselves.
Dandelion from the East
Finding the perfect environmentally friendly rubber substitute to be used in tyre manufacturing. The Russian dandelion isn’t the same as the dandelions you might find in your garden. However, the dandelions here share similarities with their Russian counterparts. The Russian dandelion has been discovered to be of the quality required to create Continental tyres.
The ability to produce tyres from this plant is an environmental success story. Rubber trees only grow in a small area of the world, on or close to the Equator. Rainforests are often replaced by rubber tree plantations. In contrast, the Russian dandelion is able to be grown in a larger number of areas, especially and industrial sites.
Using dandelions to make tyres
After many years of research, development, Continental’s ‘Taraxagum’ tyres are close to coming to market. These tyres are already on sale for trucks and bikes and the technology is almost ready for cars too.
Tyre manufacturers, such as Continental, who are developing the tyres, have been subjecting the ‘dandelion tyres’ to a series of tests. This is to ensure that these tyres perform at the same level as their rubber counterparts.
The dandelion tyre project
Continental have been working on developing these tyres with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology on creating these dandelion tyres. The dandelion tyres project was awarded the coveted GreenTec Award. This award is representative of the research and development work undertaken by Continental in manufacturing these sustainable tyres.
Developing sustainable rubber tyres
Even with traditional rubber tyres, manufacturers are working to make vehicles more environmentally friendly. Tyres are being developed to be more efficient which in turn will reduce emissions. Improved rolling resistance with tyres such as Continental’s latest EcoContact™ 6 provide improved rolling resistance. This helps to reduce fuel consumption. These innovations aren’t being developed at the expense of safety and performance. All new tyres are subjected to strict safety and performance testing to ensure that they meet the standards of traditional rubber tyres.
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