Bridgestone Americas and Versalis, a major producer in the polymers and elastomers industry, have partnered to develop and deploy a comprehensive technology package to commercialize guayule in the agricultural, sustainable-rubber and renewable-chemical sectors.
Guayule is a silver-leaved Mexican shrub of the daisy family that yields large amounts of latex that can be used as a rubber substitute.
This partnership brings together the two largest global guayule research efforts under common project management working toward a common goal. The two companies will also make the new joint technology available to industrial partners willing to cooperate in maximizing the value of these innovative products.
“Every collaboration, including this latest one with Versalis, brings us closer to our goal of developing new, domestic and sustainable sources for natural rubber that ultimately benefit our customers and our natural environment through more sustainable rubber products,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer for Bridgestone Americas. “This work is one of many ways we are using innovation to achieve our long-term vision of manufacturing products from raw materials that are fully renewable and sustainable by 2050 and beyond.”
The agreement will enable Bridgestone and Versalis to focus on developing proprietary, highly productive varieties of guayule using the latest genetic technologies. The associated growing protocols developed in line with this agreement may position guayule as an attractive and profitable crop for independent growers in appropriate regions.
Versalis will lead the product development activities to monetize the guayule rubber production, also for non-rubber components. As for resins, market applications will include adhesives and wood protection while bagasse has shown promising performance as a feedstock for the production of industrial sugars suitable for biofuels or chemical precursors
The collaboration and research will take place at Bridgestone’s Biorubber Process Research Center in Mesa, Arizona.