ANLAM, Germany – Continental is experimenting with Russian dandelion rubber as a potential replacement raw material in truck tires to rubber from tropical regions.
The work is being done at the new Taraxagum Lab in Anklam, Germany, which opened Dec. 6. The company is investing 35 million Euros and employs about 20 people at the 323,000 sq.-ft. lab.
If initial tests prove viability, Continental says it will introduce the raw material into serial production within 10 years.
“We are proud to inaugurate this lighthouse project today,” said Nikolai Setzer, head of Continental’s tire division. “We are the first tire manufacturer in the world to invest such a significant amount in industrializing dandelion rubber. We see Russian dandelion as an important alternative and complementary to conventional natural rubber from hevea brasiliensis allowing us to meet rising global demand in an environmentally compatible and reliable way.”
Continental has been looking for ways to replace natural rubber with plants that can be grown in moderate climates since 2011. It showcased its first truck tire made of dandelion rubber at the IAA show in 2016. More information on the project can be found at www.taraxagum.com.