Premium tire manufacturer and international automotive supplier, Continental, has reached a historical milestone in its research project for the industrialization of dandelion rubber in tire production.
The company’s first test tires made from the material which has been called Taraxagum, derived from the botanical name for dandelion (taraxagum), have been presented during the International Motor Show (IAA) Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, Germany.
This key step in the development process takes Continental even closer to reaching its goal of making tire production more sustainable and less dependent on traditional raw materials, while the long-term goal of the project is to find an ecologically, economically as well as socially viable solution for the increasing natural rubber demand. Continental intends to industrialize dandelion rubber and introduce it to serial production within the next five to ten years.
Nikolai Setzer, who is a member of the Continental executive board and responsible for Continental’s tire division, said: “After several years of development, we are excited to take the first dandelion tires to the road. In order to make the best use of the crop yield produced to date, we decided to build passenger car winter tires as they contain a high portion of natural rubber.”
Through extensive research in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME), the Julius Kuhn-Institute, and the plant breeder Aeskulap GmbH, a very high-yielding and robust kind of Russian dandelion was cultivated. The Russian dandelion can be cultivated on previously unused acreages in temperate regions throughout Europe, which are also close to Continental’s tire plants.