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Posted by Staff
April 10, 2023
2 Min Read
Parthenium argentatum (aka guayule), a shrub that grows in the southwestern US desert, is used by Bridgestone as an alternative to imported natural rubber from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree grown mainly in Southeast Asia.USDA/public domain
Bridgestone Americas produced a run of demonstration tires made with 75% recycled and renewable materials, including synthetic rubber made with recycled plastics and natural rubber harvested from desert shrubs grown domestically in the Arizona desert. The company has completed production of 200 demonstration tires and is pursuing joint evaluation with automakers for use on the next generation of electrified SUVs and crossovers (CUVs).
Bridgestone plans to work with automakers on joint testing and market development throughout 2023. Bridgestone is also in the process of developing tires comprised of 90% recycled and renewable materials for passenger cars.
First US tire plant to earn ISCC PLUS designation
Designed and engineered at Bridgestone’s Americas Technology Center in Akron, OH, the new tires were produced at the company’s Aiken County Passenger/Light Truck Radial Tire Plant in Graniteville, SC. The Aiken plant is the first tire manufacturing facility in America to earn International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS for transparency and traceability of sustainable raw materials, including bio, bio-circular, and circular-based material from tire pyrolysis oil. Aiken also operates an on-site, eight-acre solar array that provides renewable energy to aid in powering the plant’s manufacturing operations.
"From the drawing board to the driveway"
“As we progress in our transformation to a sustainable solutions company, we are making incredible progress in the use of recycled and renewable materials to bring sustainable tire technology from the drawing board to the driveway,” said Bridgestone Americas President and CEO Paolo Ferrari. “The production and deployment of a 75% recycled and renewable materials tire technology marks a significant milestone as we accelerate our progress toward using fully sustainable materials in our products by 2050.”
The tires contain a multitude of materials derived from recycled and bio-based feedstocks. These include recycled monomer, produced with recycled materials including plastic bottles, to create the synthetic rubber in the tire, as well as recycled steel, recycled carbon black, TPO-derived carbon black, and bio-based carbon black. Multiple materials are ISCC Plus certified.
Natural rubber derived from desert shrub
The new tire is the first street tire to use natural rubber derived from the guayule desert shrub cultivated at Bridgestone’s R&D agricultural facility in Eloy, AZ. Bridgestone has spent more than 10 years and more than $100 million on the research and development of guayule as an alternative to imported natural rubber from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree grown mainly in Southeast Asia. Guayule can serve as an alternative to existing crops, such as alfalfa and cotton, in America’s drought-stricken southwest desert, requiring as little as half the water to cultivate.
Guayule is part of Bridgestone’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality and make tires from 100% sustainable materials by 2050. The company is targeting commercial production of guayule-derived natural rubber by the end of the decade.
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