New rubber source: Russian Dandelions?
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) recently conducted research on the Russian Dandelion as a commercially viable, renewable source of high-quality, tire-grade rubber.
BATO is one of several collaborators taking part in the Russian Dandelion project being led by the Program for Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives (PENRA). PENRA is based at the Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
BATO’s specific role in the project is to scrutinize the performance of the rubber produced by using natural rubber extracted from Russian Dandelion.
“We know that there are more than 1,200 types of plants from which natural rubber could in theory be harvested, but finding one that could practically produce the quality and amount of rubber needed to meet the demands of today’s tire market is a challenge,” said Dr. Hiroshi Mouri, president, Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology.
“Bridgestone continues to dedicate substantial resources to finding sustainable alternatives for the natural rubber needed to manufacture tires and other high-quality rubber products, and we’re excited about this potentially game-changing discovery with the Russian Dandelion.”
Bridgestone subsidiaries will conduct additional testing on Russian Dandelion-harvested natural rubber at their technical labs in Akron, Ohio, and Tokyo this summer, with larger scale testing to follow in 2014.
This news comes on the heels of a March 2012 announcement that outlined a project to research and develop Guayule, a shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, as an alternative to natural rubber harvested from rubber trees (also known as Hevea trees).
To learn more about the PENRA Russian Dandelion project, visit http://www.oardc.osu.edu/penra/.