All tyres on the market today include a fossil fuel component, and numerous attempts have been made to minimise the use of such non-renewable resources. In March Sumitomo Rubber releases its Enasave 97 tyre, in which the use of fossil fuels is limited to 3 per cent – a major advance on previous attempts. However for Sumitomo Rubber a 97 per cent renewable ingredient content is not enough. On February 14 company president Tetsuji Mino unveiled Sumitomo’s vision of and work towards a 100 per cent natural resources.
“Relying on 3 per cent fossil fuels is a major hurdle,” Mino said. “I don’t think we can make it in one or two years, but I’m determined to put the tyre on the market even if it takes five to ten years.” The residual 3 per cent in the Enasave 97 is required for the antioxidant and the rubber accelerator used in the vulcanisation process, and previous attempts to eliminate it have drawn a blank. According to senior executive officer Takaki Nakano, “With the current technology, they cannot be replaced by natural resources.”