Bridgestone completes guayule research farm
Bridgestone Americas Inc. (BSA), the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corp., has completed its Agro Operations Guayule Research Farm in Eloy, Ariz. The research farm will supply guayule biomass for rubber production at the company’s BioRubber Process Research Center, which is currently under construction in Mesa, Ariz.
Agro Operations includes a dedicated 281-acre research farm, two greenhouses, an equipment storage building, and a main research and laboratory building, which are all now completed. Employees will research genetic improvement and optimized agronomic practices, scale-up seed availability for additional farming and biomass production, and build relationships with independent producers.
“Because the demand for tires is expected to increase in the long term, we are investing in identifying ways not only to diversify our natural rubber source beyond the hevea rubber tree, but also to explore other innovative methods to make our products more sustainable,” says Bill Niaura, director of new business development, BSA.
“Guayule fits the profile perfectly as it’s both domestic and renewable and the completed Agro Operations site is a critical piece to delivering on our commitment.”
Bridgestone Group has established the usage of "100 percent sustainable materials" as an initiative to make full use of its technological and product development capabilities. Accomplishing this will require progress specifically in the areas of expanding or diversifying renewable resources.
The Bridgestone research farm started growing guayule for research use in spring of 2013. This year’s fall planting will provide the first biomass to the BioRubber Process Research Center for tire evaluation in mid-2015.