As companies continue to search for more ecologically regenerative materials to use in manufacturing, the tire industry is beginning to review an old Soviet method of growing rubber, using a plant that is considered a weed in the West: the tooth of Lion.
A major German tire company partnered with the University of Aachen to produce dandelion rubber tires in an attempt to reduce landfill waste, microplastic pollution, deforestation and economic deficiencies related to growing dandelion. rubber trees.
While the concept of “dandelion rubber” seems like a Harry Potter Spell waiting to happen, as mentioned above, was actually developed by the Soviet Union in their quest for self-reliance.
Reporting from DW tell the story from a treasure hunt in the largest country in history, and the testing of more than 1,000 different specimens before the dandelions growing in Kazakhstan were found to be a perfect fit.
Previously, the world used rubber trees, mainly Hevea brasiliensi, from Brazil, but during World War II, the major powers of the USSR, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany grew dandelions for the manufacture of rubber.
After the war ended, supply and demand gradually returned to Brazil and eventually to synthetic tires made from petrochemicals.
Helping bees and our environment
Now, Continental Tires is producing dandelion rubber tires called Taraxagum (which is the genus name for the species). The bike version of your tires it even won the 2021 German Sustainability Award for sustainable design.
“Being among the 54 finalists shows that our Urban Taraxagum bicycle tire is a unique product that contributes to the development of a new, alternative and sustainable supply of raw materials,” said Dr Carla Recker, Head of Development. for the Taraxagum project.
The report of DW He added that the performance of dandelion tires was better in some cases than that of natural rubber, which is generally mixed with synthetic rubber.
As we all know, capable of growing virtually anywhere, the dandelion needs very little accommodation in the agricultural profile of a country or company. Taraxagum’s research team at Continental hypothesizes that they could even be grown on contaminated soil in or around old industrial parks.
In addition, the only additive required during the rubber extraction process is hot water, unlike Hevea, which requires the use of organic solvents that pose a risk of contamination if not disposed of properly.
Dandelions, representing a critical early-season food supply for dwindling bees and a valuable source of super-nutritious food for humans, can also be turned into coffee, giving any child a good time blowing their seeds. and, now, as a new source for rubber in the world; truly a wonderful plant.
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