Continental has just won the coveted GreenTec Awards 2014 for its Dandelion Rubber which it hopes will one day make tyre production more efficient and sustainable.
The German tyre manufacturer teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) for their co-development project “RUBIN – Industrial Emergence of Natural Rubber from Dandelion.”
Nikolai Setzer, Member of the Executive Board of Continental and Head of Tyre Division, explained: “We are very pleased to receive this award for our dandelion rubber project. Continental is pushing a very promising technology whose full potential will fully unfold in the next few years. In view of increasing levels of motorisation in growth markets such as Asia, we expect a major increase in demand for natural rubber in the future. We are convinced that the use of rubber from dandelion root will make our tyre production considerably more efficient and sustainable.”
Dr Andreas Topp, Vice President Material and Process Development and Industrialisation Tyres at Continental, added: “In the RUBIN project we are working to find an ecologically, economically and socially viable solution to meet this growing demand.”
Continental and IME are currently working on the industrial use of Russian dandelions, which are said to be very rubber-rich and do not need a tropical climate in contrast to regular rubber trees. This undemanding plant can be cultivated in a number of temperate regions on what is known as “marginal land” that was previously unusable in terms of agriculture.
Dr Topp continued: “Dandelion rubber will shorten transport routes to our production sites and enable the growing global demand for rubber to be met without sacrificing more precious areas of rainforest. Both these factors will have a sustainably positive effect on the world’s carbon footprint and on bio-diversity.”
A 60-member jury panel consisting of experts from industry, academia, trade associations, and the media considered this project to be an outstanding example of commitment to the environment and pioneering environmental technology in the category “Automobility.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office