Bridgestone to commercialise guayule rubber by 2030
30 Aug 2022
Tire maker investing €40m to expand plantation area in southwestern US
Nashville, Tennessee – Bridgestone Americas is investing $42 million (€42 million) in establishing commercial operations for the use of guayule desert shrub as a sustainable source of natural rubber.
The company, which has so far invested more than $100 million in guayule research, is collaborating and partnering with local US farmers and native American tribes to increase its plantation capacity by up to 25,000 additional acres in "America's drought-stricken desert southwest."
Additional investments and expansions are planned towards 2030, as Bridgestone targets commercial production of guayule-derived NR by the end of the decade, said a company statement 29 Aug.
"We're extremely bullish on the potential for guayule as a domestic source of strategically critical materials, such as rubber, hypoallergenic latex, building material adhesives and renewable fuel,” said Nizar Trigui, CTO and group president, solutions businesses.
"With guayule, we can reduce the environmental impacts that come with overseas sourcing,” he added.
The use of guayule will also realise a sustainable agricultural system for parts of the US that are facing persistent and worsening climate conditions, Trigui added.
Guayule is a heat tolerant, woody shrub that thrives in desert settings, particularly in America's desert southwest.
The shrub can be farmed with existing row-crop equipment, saving costs for farmers, and requires as little as half the water to grow as existing crops, such as cotton and alfalfa.
Bridgestone launched its guayule research initiative in 2012, when it broke ground on a processing and research centre in Mesa, Arizona.
Today, the company operates the research centre in Mesa and a 281-acre guayule farm in Eloy, Arizona.
Guayule is part of the Bridgestone plan to achieve carbon neutrality and make tires from 100% renewable materials by 2050.