Hanover, Germany - Continental Reifen Deutschland GmbH has started the construction of its €35-million “Taraxagum Lab Anklam” research and test laboratory, the company announced 13 Nov.
The facility, being built in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, northern Germany, is set to become operational in the third quarter of 2018 creating 20 job.
Research at the laboratory will focus on the cultivation and processing of the Russian dandelion as an alternative source of raw material to traditional rubber tree plantations in the tropics.
The move is part of Conti’s plan to use dandelion rubber in its future series production operations.
“We hope that through improvements in dandelion cultivation and processing we will in future be able to meet part of our natural rubber needs in a more sustainable way,” said Mergell, head of research & development Passenger and Light Truck Tires at Continental at the ground-breaking ceremony.
Russian dandelion, Conti says, can be grown in temperate regions, inclduing in Europe, and therefore substantially reducing the distances the raw material has to travel to its tire production sites.
Continental launched its research on replacing hevea-based natural rubber with material sourced from plants cultivated in temperate regions in 2011 in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute IME in Münster, the Julius Kühn Institute in Quedlinburg, and the plant breeder ESKUSA in Parkstetten.