First dandelion rubber tyres successfully pass test drive
Continental has produced a small batch of the ContiWinterContact TS 850 P, with treads made exclusively of rubber from the dandelion root, for testing. In the test drives at test sites in Arividsjaur (Swedish Lapland) and at the Contidrom (Lower Saxony), the tyres made of ‘Taraxagum’ demonstrated the properties expected by developers.
"After several years of intensive development work together with the Fraunhofer Institute, we are excited to be taking the first dandelion tyres onto the road. To get the most meaningful test results from the crop yield produced by our research project to date, we decided to build passenger car winter tyres, as they contain a particularly high proportion of natural rubber. We are continuing to pursue the goal of developing tyres based on the dandelion rubber to readiness for series production within the next five to 10 years," said Nikolai Setzer, Member of the Executive Board of Continental responsible for the Tire Division.
In May 2015, Continental and the Fraunhofer received the GreenTec Award 2014 for their co-development project ‘RUBIN – Industrial Emergence of Natural Rubber from Dandelion."
The long-term goal of the research project is to find an ecologically, economically, and socially viable solution to the increasing demand for natural rubber, which would ease the pressure on the traditional rubber tree plantations in the tropics. The project also aims to reduce dependency on the sometimes severe price fluctuations of natural rubber on the commodities exchanges. In addition, cultivating dandelions on previously unused land in temperate regions of Europe – closer to Continental’s European tire plants – would sustainably reduce logistics costs and the transport-related impact on the environment.