Green Vehicle Tires Created from Plants

Going green — By on June 28, 2010 at 11:35 am
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Is your tire made from eco-friendly materials or petroleum? (image from Kevin Briody on Flickr)

When it comes to building a greener, more eco-friendly car, manufacturers have incorporated a number of measures (increasing fuel efficiency, using recyclable materials, cutting down on wind or road resistance and more).  Yet tires have been made of the same general substance for decades: petroleum.  Until now.

Green vehicle tires created from plants have been created at several research labs and some are even hitting the market.  Sumitomo Rubber Industries (partnering with Goodyear) introduced the Enasave tire in Japan in 2006.  The amount of synthetic rubber was cut in half from its previous models, comprising a total of only 11% of the tire.

Similarly at Yokohama Tire, scientists created 80% petroleum-free tires in its Yokohama dB Super E-spec, which uses oil from orange peels in its processing.  Talk about recycling!  The orange peels are shipped to the tire manufacturing plant from orange juice factories in Japan!  You can buy these tires right here in the U.S. too!  Just ask your local retailer if they carry them.

Also, sunflower oil is used in tire manufacturer Michelin’s Primacy MXM4 all-weather tires, which are supplied for Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti models.  The company reports that the ingredient allows for improved traction and shorter braking distances in wet conditions.

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What is your tire made of? (image from shrk on Flickr)

R&D is continuing as researchers explore other ways that green vehicle tires can be created from plants.  Some unusual formulations could include guayule (a desert shrub) or Russian dandelion as the basis for sustainable rubber formulations.

Anything to reduce our demand for crude oil is a shift in the right direction, if you ask me!

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2 Comments

  1. Don says:

    This is great. I read somewhere too, that Henry Ford made tires from hemp, I believe it was.
    Petroleum kills everything and we need to get away from it.

  2. Graham Bennett says:

    Sumitomo has gone even further with its Enasave 97 tyre, and using ENR25 in the tread compound. ENR25 is epoxidised natural rubber and you can’t get more sustainable rubber than that.

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