ERJ staff report (DS)
San Francisco, California -- Speakers at the American Chemical Society's Spring 2010 National Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco said motorists will be driving on tyres made with Bio-Isoprene within five years.
The new tyres will be a â€œsweetâ€ advance toward greener, more sustainable transportation in a quite literal sense, according to Joseph McAuliffe, Ph.D., who reported on the technology. He is a staff scientist at Genencor, an industrial biotechnology company in Palo Alto, Calif. The process can use sugars derived from sugar cane, corn, corn cobs, switchgrass or other biomass to produce the ingredient, a biochemical called isoprene, derived from renewable raw materials.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Genencor, a division of Danisco A/S, have established a research collaboration to develop an integrated fermentation, recovery and purification system for producing BioIsoprene product from renewable raw materials. Genencor intends to commercialise the technology within the next five years.
In his ACS presentation, McAuliffe described how Genencor engineered bacteria to efficiently convert sugars to isoprene and how the smooth integration of fermentation and recovery processes promises to deliver a new route to this strategically important ingredient used to make synthetic rubber.
The aim, said ACS is to use isoprene as a supplement to oil-derived materials, rather than as a substitute. Isoprene is used in a wide range of other industrial applications including, for example block copolymers such as styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS) and as polyisoprene, surgical gloves and other rubber-based products. Worldwide production of high purity isoprene derived today from petroleum-based feedstocks totals about 1.7 billion pounds. Goodyear is one of the world's largest users of isoprene, thanks to its use of SIBR (styrene-isoprene-butadiene rubber),to substitute some applications of the more common SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber). The firm plans to supplement its use of petroleum-based isoprene with BioIsoprene product.
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Press release from ACS