Balkrishna Industries Limited (BKT), has entered into a joint research agreement with Kultevat, Inc., to create a dandelion rubber compound for its tires.
Kultevat, a U.S. biotechnology company, specializes in the cultivation and processing of TKS Dandelion as a renewable and sustainable alternative for natural rubber. BKT will work with the company to develop new compounding methods and tire manufacturing technologies to create more sustainable and renewable tires in the future.
All testing will be carried out at BKT´s recently inaugurated modern Research and Development Center known as “Suresh Poddar Innovation Hub” within the company’s latest and largest production site in Bhuj, India.
St. Louis-based Kultevat specializes in green technology and in particular the extraction of high-quality dandelion rubber from Taraxacum kok-saghyz (Russian Dandelion), or TKS for short, by means of an environmentally friendly process. Under the agreement, TKS rubber will be delivered to BKT’s R & D Center at Bhuj. The tiremaker will then start with a series of studies and experiments with the TKS rubber to gradually replace or reduce the use of natural rubber in its tires in the future.
“BKT has always been committed to innovation allotting requisite amounts regularly to Research and Development since we consider these investments the key to success for competing in a complex global market with rapidly evolving needs,” said Dilip Vaidya, BKT president and director of technology. “The Agreement with Kultevat for TKS rubber is a great step forward in our R&D activities in terms of both sustainability and innovation. This project is fully in line with the goals expressed in our R&D Mission: To research and develop cutting-edge Materials Technologies to support future BKT business challenges in terms of innovative product technology.”
Like other tire manufacturers, BKT has been working on substitute raw material solutions, mainly guayule and dandelion. BKT has opted for dandelion because of its higher latex content. This plant grows annually even in moderate climates, and its roots contain about 15 % latex, which can be used as raw material for making rubber.