Montreal, Canada – French tire maker Groupe Michelin has unveiled ambitious plans to produce tires made with 80% 'sustainable' materials that are 100% recyclable.
At its Movin’On 2018 mobility event on 30 May, Michelin said it was investing in advanced recycling technologies to be able to increase the content of such materials in tires to 80% by 2048.
Tires, it said, are currently made using 28% sustainable materials: 26% bio-sourced materials - natural rubber and sunflower oil - and 2% recycled materials, such as steel or recycled powdered tires.
In this area, the company bought US-based tire recycler and manufacturer of micronised rubber powder (MRP), Lehigh Technologies, in October last year.
According to Michelin, Lehigh’s sustainable raw material reduce feedstock costs by up to 50%, making “sustainability an unbeatable proposition”.
Another route to the sustainable material target will be achieved by research programmes into bio-sourced materials like Biobutterfly.
The Biobutterfly programme was launched in 2012 with Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles to create synthetic elastomers from biomass such as wood, straw or beet.
Michelin has also proposed to develop partnerships and identify new ways to recycle tires, or new outlets for recycled tires.
As a result, a Hackathon was held in 2017, in partnership with Alliapur, to brainstorm solutions in which tire granulates could be used.
The winner of the Hackathon was “Black Pillow”, which suggested creating safe urban furniture made of tire granulates.
Movin’On is in its second year and saw Michelin launching its Vision concept tire – a 3D printed, airless tire made out of bio-materials, in 2017.