Amyris, Inc. announced that Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. has adopted Amyris’ liquid farnesene rubber (LFR) as a performance-enhancing additive for use in the production of its latest Dunlop-branded Winter Maxx 02 tires. LFR is a liquid rubber developed by Kuraray Co. using Amyris’s biologically derived Biofene-branded β-farnesene. (Earlier post.)
The Winter Maxx 02 represents the brand’s best tire to date for on-ice and snow-braking performance and for durability. LFR’s performance enhancement will be available across Dunlop’s entire Winter Maxx 02 portfolio of 91 sizes.
We are excited to join with Kuraray in bringing LFR to the large global tire market and commercializing safer high-performance tires that utilize an additive from a sustainable resource. This marks the first global tire brand to adopt our disruptive technology to deliver innovation. The better than expected results from this first launch are leading to significantly better early sales of LFR than we expected. We expect this commercial entry is just the start of anticipated adoption by other major brands across the world.—John Melo, President & CEO of Amyris
Amyris’s sugar cane-derived Biofene forms the basis for a wide range of products varying from specialty products such as cosmetics, perfumes, detergents and industrial lubricants, to transportation fuels such as diesel and jet fuel. As a tailor-made pure hydrocarbon it provides numerous advantages when compared to petroleum-based oils and chemicals and is renewable.
LFR is a proprietary liquid rubber using farnesene manufactured from sugar cane using fermentation technology. It features a viscosity that is much lower compared with current liquid isoprene rubber, making it easier for rubber product manufacturers to use. In addition, it maintains excellent flexibility, even at low temperatures.
Its unique chemical structure reacts completely with solid rubber during processing, meaning that, unlike oil additives it stays bonded, keeping tires softer, longer. In tires, its ice grip performance is maintained over many years.
Kuraray was established in 1926. In 1950, the company achieved a corporate milestone as the first in the world to bring polyvinyl alcohol synthetic fiber to market. In subsequent years, Kuraray used its proprietary technology in the area of polymer chemistry and synthetic chemistry to develop resins, chemicals, fibers and textiles, and other products for use in a wide variety of end applications. Kuraray has overseas subsidiaries in 19 countries.
Kuraray concluded a joint-development agreement with Amyris in 2011, and together created technology that refines Amyris’s biomass material farnesene to a level of purity suitable for polymerization as well as technology that synthesizes LFR. The companies discovered relationships between various properties when combining LFR’s molecular structure with rubber compounds and began supplying LFR to tire manufacturers. Following the success of this partnership, in December 2016, Kuraray and Amyris signed a multi-year collaboration extension, which includes joint marketing of products to industry and end customers.
Amyris converts plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules and produce specialty ingredients and consumer products. The company is delivering its No Compromise products across a number of markets, including specialty and performance chemicals, flavors and fragrances, cosmetics ingredients, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals.