Alternative sources to the rubber tree are being investigated to find more sustainable raw material options for tires.
Continental recently announced the opening of its research lab dedicated to farming and extracting Russian dandelion as a possible alternative.
BKT is also researching the use of dandelion because of its high latex content. Its roots contain about 15% latex which can be used for making rubber.
Graphene is another material BKT and other companies are looking into as a means of improving wear resistance and thermal conductivity.
In 2018, Michelin announced that by 2048 it plans to manufacture all tires using 80% sustainable materials.
Michelin’s VISION concept tire provides an example of this effort as it is composed of bio-sourced and biodegradable materials.