The Urban Taraxagum bicycle tire from Continental has won the German Sustainability Award 2021 in the category “Responsible Design”. The tire is the first series-built bicycle tire made of dandelion rubber.
Series production of a tire made of dandelion rubber is an important milestone in Continental’s sustainability strategy. The dandelion rubber used is cultivated, extracted and processed in Germany. Local raw material extraction avoids long transport routes, reduces CO2 emissions and conserves valuable resources.
The Urban Taraxagum bicycle tire, available on the market since 2019, is the first serial product made of dandelion rubber that combines local production with minimal transport distances in the supply chain. The tire has now been produced for two years at Continental’s tire plant in Korbach, Germany. In the Taraxagum research laboratory in Anklam, Germany employees from agricultural sciences, chemistry, production and process engineering are tasked with the cultivation of the plants as well as the development, construction and operation of machines for experimentation with the processing of the Russian dandelion.
The industrialization of the cultivation of dandelion rubber is the goal of the long-term Taraxagum project of Continental and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME). Taraxagum should in future be used for a wide range of other products, such as car and truck tires, agricultural tires and technical rubber goods.
In addition to the IME, the project is embedded in a network with other key partners such as the Julius Kühn Institute and the plant breeder ESKUSA. This network is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Economics, Labor and Tourism of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany as well as with funds of the European Union from the Operational Program of the ERDF in the funding period 2014-2020.