Continental is trash heaps and recycling bins to seek out sustainable supplies for future tires.
The corporate hopes to make all of its tires totally from sustainable supplies by 2050 on the newest, up from 15% to twenty% renewable or recycled content material immediately. In a press launch, Continental defined the way it’s agricultural waste like rice husks and dandelions, in addition to recycled plastic bottles, to assist obtain that objective.
A passenger automobile tire could be composed of as much as 100 completely different supplies, in response to Continental, and one of the crucial necessary is pure rubber, which the corporate mentioned accounts for 10% to 40% of the burden of a contemporary tire.
Sustainable supplies in Continental tires
Tire producers are in search of various sources of pure rubber that may be extra sustainably grown on an industrial scale, as Bridgestone has achieved by utilizing a desert shrub known as guayule in some racing tires. Continental goals to make use of specifically cultivated dandelions as a supply of pure rubber.
Continental can be creating silica tire fillers constituted of the ash of rice husks, waste materials that may’t be used for meals or animal feed, the corporate famous. The method of turning them into silica can be extra vitality environment friendly than typical manufacturing processes, Continental claims.
Different tire fillers are at the moment constituted of crude oil, however Continental believes plant-based rapeseed oils and resins constituted of the leftovers of paper and wooden processing might function substitutes. As with rice husks, these are waste supplies that haven’t any different sensible use, the corporate mentioned.
Pyrolysis course of used to extract recyclable materials from Continental tires
Carbon black is one other main ingredient, and on this case Continental needs to recycle outdated tires to get well the fabric. It lately signed an settlement with Pyrum Improvements to make use of the latter’s pyrolysis course of, which entails utilizing excessive warmth to interrupt down outdated tires to extract usable materials. Continental can be utilizing “mechanical processing” to separate out different supplies, together with rubber, metal, and textile, from outdated tires.
One other recycled materials Continental needs to utilize is PET plastic from drink bottles, which could be made into polyester yarn for tire casings. Between 9 and 15 bottles can go into every tire, relying on tire measurement, in response to Continental.
Different tire producers are additionally seeking to make their merchandise extra environmentally pleasant. Goodyear in January confirmed a prototype tire containing 90% sustainable supplies, and plans to begin making tires with 70% sustainable supplies this yr. Michelin and Hyundai have additionally partnered on sustainable supplies for future EV tires.