Findlay, Ohio – Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has completed tire builds using rubber derived from guayule plants and new guayule related materials, the company announced 21 Oct.
On-going wheel, road and track tests, tests suggest performance is at least equal to tires made of components derived from the Hevea rubber plant, the company said.
Cooper is developing guayale rubber tires in a consortium, which includes PanAridus, Arizona State University, Cornell University, and the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS)
The group met recently to discuss the progress of the project, which is being supported by a $6.9-million grant under a US biomass technology programme.
The consortium is focused mainly on developing enhanced manufacturing processes for the production of solid rubber from the guayule plant as a biomaterial for tire applications. It is also focused on genomic and agronomic development of guayule and advancing the sustainability of these biomaterial and bioenergy industries in the US southwest, where guayule is grown.
Cooper said its progress in tire technology has been aided by PanAridus’ success in manufacturing rubber using improved strains of guayule and deploying superior rubber extraction technology.
Consortium members USDA-ARS and Cornell have also reported significant progress in defining the guayule genome – towards improving rubber yield, plant size, drought tolerance of the plants.
“As the lead company in the consortium, we are extremely pleased with the progress that the group has made to advance guayule technology on all fronts,” said Chuck Yurkovich, senior vice president, global R&D for Cooper.
“The team is making rapid progress toward a commercial source of domestic natural rubber, and ultimately, tires made with guayule rubber,” Yurkovich concluded.