Hankook Tire and global petrochemical company Kumho Petrochemical Co. (KKPC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development of eco-friendly tires, utilizing eco solution-polymerized Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (Eco-SSBR). The MOU signing took place at the headquarters of KKPC, located in Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea.
To respond to the growing demand for sustainable raw materials and products, both companies said they will cooperate in developing eco-friendly tires using recycled materials. Hankook Tire will test and evaluate its tires to check for physical properties and performance quality to create eco-friendly tires under the agreement to use Eco-SSBR – which is produced through the application of KKPC’s Recycled Styrene Monomer (RSM).
Eco-SSBR is an eco-friendly material that applies RSM instead of basic, raw material styrene to SSBR, a high-performance synthetic rubber that improves wear resistance and fuel efficiency of tires. KKPC is considering an investment in the material with the aim of commercialization in 2026. The MOU between the two companies means that Hankook Tire will be the first to be supplied with the material at a fair price once production has commenced.
Prior to the agreement, Hankook Tire said it had been implementing ESG management activities aimed at improving sustainability throughout the process of tire production. As a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) – a global sustainable natural rubber collaborative platform – Hankook Tire said it wants to improve the living conditions of small-scale farmers who grow natural rubber, while simultaneously helping them with productivity and quality.