Cooper Tire and PanAridus to develop guayule plant-based polymers
ERJ staff report (TP)
Findlay, Ohio – Cooper Tire & Rubber Company announced last week that PanAridus will join the company and its consortium partners on a $6.9m (€5m) Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) grant toward development of guayule plant-based polymers for use in tire manufacturing.
The BRDI is a joint effort between the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) to promote development and analysis of feed stocks, biofuels and bio-based products.
Cooper Tire, PanAridus, and other consortium partners, including Arizona State University (ASU) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the USDA, are conducting research efforts aimed at developing enhanced manufacturing processes for the production of guayule solid rubber as a biomaterial for tire applications, as well as evaluating the plant’s residual biomass for biofuel applications. The consortium members aim to harness biopolymers extracted from guayule as a replacement for petroleum-based synthetics and tropical-based natural rubber currently used in the manufacture of tires. If successful, new jobs in the growing and processing of guayule would be created for American workers.
Cooper Tire is leading the overall grant program along with developing all related tire technology. PanAridus replaces Yulex Corporation on the grant team, assuming Yulex’s responsibilities as the primary manufacturer of the material. PanAridus will take the lead in developing commercial processes to produce guayule natural rubber for the tire industry. ARS is leading the genomic and agronomic development of guayule, while ASU is evaluating the sustainability impact these biomaterial and bioenergy industries have on the American Southwest, where guayule is grown.
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Press release from Cooper Tire