31.1 C
Brunei
Monday, November 28, 2022
31.1 C
Brunei
Monday, November 28, 2022
More
    - Advertisement -

    Tyres made with tomato, sugar cane hit the road as manufacturers eye environment

    ANN/THE JAPAN NEWS – Leading tyremakers are accelerating their development of tyres made with plant materials.

    Manufacturers are reviewing not only the environmental performance of their automobiles while on the road, but also the raw materials, parts and components used to produce vehicles. Producing environmentally friendly tyres is likely to give automakers an edge in the market.

    TOMATO TYRES

    Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd, which sells the Dunlop brand, has been working to manufacture a new synthetic rubber by breeding rubber trees that contain tomato-derived enzymes. As the tomato enzymes have a strength-enhancing effect, this new rubber is expected to reduce the wear of the tyres.

    A director of the materials planning department at Sumitomo Rubber, said, “As interest in decarbonisation is strong, the need (for such products) will increase further.” He said the company aims to put the new product on the market by the 2040s.

    Tyres for automobiles are generally manufactured with compounds, whereby several kinds of rubber are mixed with such additives as reinforcing agents and coupling agents. Butadiene, one of the main raw materials, is often produced from naphtha, which is related to gasoline.

    The Yokohama Rubber Co has developed a technology for producing butadiene from plants such as sugar cane and used it to make prototype tyres. In June, its racing team drove a vehicle equipped with these tyres in the United States (US) Hill Climb Race, in which automobiles compete on mountain roads, and completed the whole distance. The company has set a target of producing the new product on a commercial basis in 2034.

    A tyre made from guayule, a shrub from North and Central America. This tyre has also been used in car racing. PHOTO: BRIDGESTONE CORP

    Global new car sales have been brisk, with demand for tyres also high. According to Report Ocean, a US market research company, the automobile tyre market reached USD144.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to continue growing at a yearly average of four per cent from 2022 to 2030.

    STABLE SUPPLY A CHALLENGE

    For global automakers, the environmental impact of manufacturing has been called into question, prompting them to seek more environmentally friendly parts and components.

    Natural rubber is used as a raw material for tyres. But in Southeast Asia, where more than 90 per cent of the main materials are grown, it is feared the resource will be depleted due to logging. In light of this, there are moves to find new plants that could replace existing rubber trees. The Bridgestone Corp is looking closely at a shrub called guayule, a plant native to North and Central America. Aiming to put it into commercial use in 2026, the rubber and tyre manufacturer has provided racing teams with tyres produced on an experimental basis.

    An official in charge at Bridgestone said, “We want to make our business sustainable by using diversified natural resources.” The challenge lies in how to procure it stably and in large quantities. Bridgestone, in collaboration with Kirin Holdings Co has begun research on effectively cultivating guayule.

    As it will take a long time to improve the breed and cultivate it, they are also hurrying to create a system to develop farmland.

    - Advertisement -
    - Advertisement -
    spot_img

    Latest article

    - Advertisement -
    spot_img