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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Cooper Tire and BRDI consortium partners report significant progress on grant to develop guayule polymer for tires

September 20, 2016

At its recent annual meeting in Albany, Calif., the public-private consortium behind the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) grant, “Securing the Future of Natural Rubber—an American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule,” reported several key advancements emerging from the group’s work over the past year.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, working as the lead agency in the grant, announced that its scientists have reached a key milestone toward the goal of producing, by mid-2017, a concept tire in which all of the natural and synthetic rubber is replaced by guayule-based polymers. Guayule is a shrub that is grown primarily in the southwestern United States and contains rubber that can be processed for use in tires. (Earlier post.)

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New approach for synthetic rubber for degradable tires: converting cyclopentene to polypentenamers

August 22, 2016

A team from the Texas A&M University campus in Qatar (TAMU-Qatar) and Caltech has developed a new way to make synthetic rubber; once this material is discarded, it can be easily degraded back to its chemical building blocks and reused in new tires and other products. The researchers will present their work today at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Philadelphia.

According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, nearly 270 million tires were discarded in the US in 2013—more than one tire per adult living in the country. Many of the non-degradable scrap tires get stockpiled in landfills. More than half go on to become tire-derived fuel—shredded scrap tires that get mixed with coal and other materials to help power cement kilns, pulp and paper mills and other plants. But environmentalists are concerned that the emissions from this practice could be adding harmful pollutants to the air.

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Continental showcases car tires and engine mounts with rubber made from dandelion roots; targeting series production in 5-10 years

April 25, 2016

Continental has developed and tested car tires and engine mounts with rubber made from dandelion roots. In 2014, Continental brought onto the road the first sample of a premium winter tire featuring tread made from dandelion rubber. (Earlier post.) At the end of 2015, ContiTech tested the new renewable resource, named TARAXAGUM, in engine mounts. The company is striving for series production in five to ten years.

Continental says that the plant has the potential to become an alternative, environmentally friendly resource and could further reduce dependency on traditionally produced natural rubber. Not only this, but because it grows under moderate climatic conditions, it can also generate savings in CO2 emissions and transport costs.

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How a tire company is doing its part to recycle and reuse; Michelin’s TREC

November 11, 2015

by Derek Petersen

It’s fascinating how individuals and companies continue to find creative ways to recycle and reuse. Companies will attract negative attention for not doing their part to help protect the environment—potentially risking a loss in profits due to a shrinking consumer base because of their environmental decisions. One company, Michelin, has learned how to recycle and reuse large amounts of scrap tires in an intriguing way.

Since the 1990s, there have been many efforts towards learning the best and most efficient ways of how to recycle scrap tires. These efforts include: tire-derived fuel; civil engineering; and asphalt rubber. According to the EPA, asphalt rubber is the largest single market for ground rubber, consuming an estimated 220 million pounds, or approximately 12 million tires.

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Bridgestone successfully builds passenger car tires with 100% guayule-derived rubber

October 02, 2015

Bridgestone Corporation has successfully built passenger tires with 100 percent of its natural rubber-containing components derived from guayule, a desert shrub that grows in arid regions. Natural rubber is contained in the plant’s barks and roots. (Earlier post.) Built at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Japan, the tires were constructed using the company’s guayule natural rubber cultivated by Bridgestone at its Biorubber Process Research Center (BPRC) in Mesa, Arizona.

Bridgestone built similar passenger tires at its operations in Rome, Italy earlier this summer. In those tire builds, all of the tire’s major natural rubber components—including the tread, sidewall and bead filler—were replaced with natural rubber extracted from guayule grown and harvested by Bridgestone.

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Oak Ridge/Drexel team produces supercapacitor electrodes from scrap tires

September 28, 2015

By employing proprietary pretreatment and processing, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Drexel University have produced flexible polymer carbon composite films from scrap tires for use as electrodes for supercapacitors.

The first synthesized highly porous carbon (1625 m2 g−1) using waste tires as the precursor. The narrow pore-size distribution and high surface area led to good charge storage capacity, especially when used as a three-dimensional nanoscaffold to polymerize polyaniline (PANI). The resulting composite paper was highly flexible, conductive, and exhibited a capacitance of 480 F g−1 at 1 mV s−1 with excellent capacitance retention of up to 98% after 10,000 charge/discharge cycles.

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