Tyres containing “European rubber” produced
Several tyre makers have expressed their interest utilising natural rubber sourced from guayule and Russian dandelions, but Apollo Vredestein has announced it has actually produced tyres containing such materials. The company says the first tyres manufactured with European natural rubber rolled off its production belt this week.
Apollo Vredestein participates in the EU-PEARLS project, which aims to find a European alternative to traditional sources of natural rubber. Research has focused on Russian dandelion and the desert plant guayule, and other aspects of the project involve finding suitable conditions for growing these plants in Europe, optimising the natural rubber’s yield and quality and designing the ideal extraction methods.
The first tyres produced using European rubber were a number of specimens from the Quatrac Lite range, in size 155/65 R14. Apollo Vredestein says it produced tyres using rubber extracted from both abovementioned plants. Reporting this initial production run, the tyre maker comments that “although first impressions look very promising, the tyres with the alternative natural rubbers will first undergo extensive testing over the coming months before being taken into production.”
EU-PEARLS (project 212827) is financed by the European Commission FP7 KBBE Program. The research results will be presented on 24 and 25 September during the closing conference at the “BioRubber for Europe in Global Perspective” conference, which is being held in The Netherlands.