Continental Tire AG, together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, Julius Kuehn-Institute, and EKUSA, has produced and tested the first tires with tread made completely out of natural rubber derived from dandelions.
“In agricultural terms, dandelions are an undemanding plant, growing in moderate climates, even in the northern hemisphere, and can be cultivated on land not suitable for food production,” according to Carla Recker, head of Continental’s team developing the material. “This means that rubber production is conceivable near our tire factories, for instance, and the significantly shorter transport routes would also reduce CO2 emissions.”
The team at Continental has been using a specific Russian species of dandelion, which is the only dandelion that can produce an alternative natural rubber. The roots of this dandelion species contain the natural rubber latex.
In five to 10 years, the tiremaker plans to manufacture consumer tires made from dandelion-derived rubber, Continental said.