Goodyear Develops Tires Made of Renewable Rubber

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While natural rubber is itself a bio-based product since it comes from trees, most tires are produced using synthetic rubber made of petroleum, which come with a much higher footprint. Photo: Flickr/heather

The future of tires could mean using rubber made from plants, and it could happen within the next five years according to TechNewsDaily.

The technology is called BioIsoprene, which is produced by the Genencor division of Danisco.

While natural rubber is itself a bio-based product since it comes from trees, most tires are produced using synthetic rubber made of petroleum.

This increases the environmental footprint during manufacturing, and also poses issues for disposal since the tires are prone to fires in a landfill that produces black smoke.

Genencor manufactures the polymer by fermenting plants with microorganisms, so oil is not required. The company says its tires should last as long as petroleum-based ones and is investigating the use of BioIsoprene in other rubber products and adhesives.

“BioIsoprene is an excellent example of Danisco’s leadership in industrial biotechnology through our Genencor division,” says Tom Knutzen, CEO of Danisco. “As we deliver enzymes to existing markets, we are also investing in future bio-innovations with extraordinary potential to address the world’s most urgent business and environmental challenges.”

Danisco and Goodyear first announced a partnership on the new tires in 2008, when Danisco commited $50 million to develop the technology. Since then, Goodyear has been turning the BioIsoprene into synthetic rubber in order to make a prototype, although the company has yet to announce when the tires will be available for sale.

A prototype of a Goodyear tire made from BioIsoprene was on display at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

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Trey Granger

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  1. Tires from natural plant material may sound good initially but how many hundreds of thousands or millions of rubber trees with this destroy? How is this being justified? Don’t you think we really need to be careful with this? I recall as a child in the 60’s there was an announcement made that a scientist formulated a tire that would never puncture or wear out and a large tire making company bought the discovery and would not produce it because it had no obselescence. Do you know anything about this? Is there not a better way? Surely as the most intellegent species on Earth we can do better. Love, Gerrie Baker, aka The Worm Lady, Foley Mountain, Westport, Ontario Canada

  2. Tires get smaller as they wear out. Where is that “worn-off tread” from the 4 billion tires on the roads?
    It was there when we bought the tires, but it’s gone after several thousand miles.

    There are about 1 Billion passenger vehicle on the worlds roads. Say about 1/2″ of the tire tread is worn off the tire. Outside circumference of the tire is on the average 80″. So, a strip of rubber about 1/2″ thick and 4″ wide and 6-1/2Ft long wears off each tire x 4 = 26′ ft.

    Image a strip of rubber about 4″ wide, 1/2″ thick and 26′ long dragged behind 1 billion world vehicles on the roads today. Stacking those strips of rubber would give you a 42 stacks as high as the Empire State Building. So, where is it?

    Is the rubber in the air, water, soil and ultimately in us?

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