During its second global summit focusing on sustainable mobility, Michelin Group has unveiled two mighty goals that will guide tire innovation and production for the next 30 years.
By 2048, Michelin says its tires will be made with 80% of durable materials. (Durable means recyclable or renewable.) The company’s current tires are made of 26% biosourced materials such as sunflower oil and natural rubber, and 2% recycled steel or recycled rubber powder.
Also by 2048, 100% of all tires will be recycled. Worldwide, Michelin says 70% of tires are recovered, and 50% are recycled.
Nicolas Beaumont, director of the Movin’ On summit and senior vice president of sustainable development and mobility, says the goals will keep the company moving forward. “We need to move from a mission to action.”
And especially when it relates to the second goal, Michelin admits it needs the rest of the tire industry to join in the mission. “This is not something that we can achieve alone,” says Cyrille Roget, Michelin’s scientific and innovation communication director. He refers to both goals as “major ambitions.”
When it comes to what Michelin puts in tires, changes rely on the company’s ongoing investment in new research and technologies, as well as creative partnerships. The Biobutterfly program, launched in 2012, is focused on to creating synthetic elastomers from biomass such as wood, straw or beets.
In October 2017 Michelin acquired Lehigh Technologies Inc., a company that transforms the rubber from end-of-life tires into material that can be used in new tires, and other products. The micronized rubber powders that Lehigh creates can be substituted for oil- and rubber-based feedstocks in lots of applications, including tires.
Combined, the efforts to make tires of more sustainable goods and recycle every tire would save 33 million barrels of oil a year. That’s equal to the amount of power consumed by all of France in a single month.