ERJ staff report (TP)
Akron. Ohio – PanAridus CEO, Mike Fraley, announced the company’s ninth USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Plant Variety Patent and the first tire quality, bale-sized shipment of biorubber at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC) in Akron.
Fraley said the world’s largest tire companies at ITEC, which consume 65 to 70 percent of global rubber production, are “especially interested in the natural rubber polymer extracted from the native Sonoran Desert guayule plant because currently the United States and other non-tropical nations must import 100% of their supply and are facing a host of uncertainties in obtaining sufficient quantities to meet their customers’ needs”.
He said PanAridus had “overcome yet another obstacle in the 100-year quest to find a sustainable and domestically produced source of natural rubber”.
“We’ve made guayule more adaptable to different soils and conditions which should give the tire industry more confidence than ever that we’ve reached the age in which a domestically produced source of natural rubber can be sustainably grown over predictable periods of time,” added Fraley.
He believed that “commercialised guayule rubber for tires is moving at warp speed” and compared the gram-sized samples of guayule rubber he offered at the same conference two years ago to the shipments by truck the company produced for Cooper Tire as part of the $7 million (€5.4m) USDA BRDI (Biomass Research and Development Initiative) grant.
“We’re filling orders as fast as we can now because we’ve satisfied the main concerns the tire industry previously had incorporating guayule into the manufacturing process. They’ve had their own scientists prove independently of our findings that our rubber exceeds their high standards and we can produce it in a measurable and timely fashion,” he said.
The Casa Grande based company owns the most guayule plant patents in the world and was the first to offer certified guayule crop seed.
“Like the Starship Enterprise [ship used in Star Trek TV / film franchise], we’re already taking guayule to places no one has gone before,” Fraley said.