Published on 28 May 2012 by Toni M.
Who would have thought that in a not-so-distant future that your tires will not be made from natural rubber and petroleum byproducts, but from the Russian dandelion.
Dandelions, are those pretty yellow wild flowers who delight children (just think how many moms have received a fresh bouquet) and how everyone has blown their seeds and how they are a bane to a perfect lawn. If you’ve ever picked a dandelion you known that it leaves a sticky sap on your fingers and it’s that sap could revolutionize the entire rubber industry.
Not to mention helping the enviroment, as dandelions are cheaper to grow than a rubber tree (that takes six years of growth before being able to be tapped) and the fact that dandelions grow everywhere and in all climates, which could leave the already endangered rain forest ecosystem alone.
Bridgestone Americas is one of several collaborators taking part in the Russian Dandelion project being led by PENRA (Program for Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives) based at the Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. The company’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 and Tokyo this summer, with larger scale testing to follow in 2014.
Source | bridgestone.com