Bridgestone research shows the Russian Dandelion may be a sustainable source of natural rubber
To most of us, the dandelion is just a yellow flower – but this humble plant could be about to revolutionise tyre manufacturing.
Bridgestone Americas, which is part of the global Bridgestone Corporation, has been taking part in research
into whether the Russian Dandelion can become a commercially viable, renewable source of high-quality,
tyre-grade rubber – and the results are promising.
The Program for Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives (PENA) based at the Ohio State University's
Agricultural Research and Development Centre has been analysing the performance of the rubber produced by
using natural rubber extracted from Russian Dandelion.
"We know that there are more than 1,200 types of plants from which natural rubber could in theory be harvested,
but finding one that could practically produce the quality and amount of rubber needed to meet the demands of
today's tyre market is a challenge," said Dr. Hiroshi Mouri, President of Bridgestone Americas Center for
Research and Technology.
"Bridgestone continues to dedicate substantial resources to finding sustainable alternatives for the natural
rubber needed to manufacture tyres and other high-quality rubber products, and we're excited about this
potentially game-changing discovery with the Russian Dandelion."
Bridgestone subsidiaries will conduct additional testing on Russian Dandelion-harvested natural rubber at
their technical labs in Akron and Tokyo this summer, with larger scale testing to follow in 2014.
This news comes on the heels of a March 2012 announcement to research and develop Guayule, a shrub
native to the south-western U.S. and northern Mexico, as an alternative to natural rubber harvested from rubber
For that project, Bridgestone Americas is establishing a pilot farm and constructing a rubber process research
centre in the south-western United States. Russian Dandelion and Guayule have almost identical qualities
compared to natural rubber harvested from the rubber tree, which is currently the primary source for the natural
rubber used in tyres.
With the demand for tyres expected to continue increasing in the near and long term, the Bridgestone Group
has embraced its responsibility to develop technologies and business practices that encourage conservation
of finite natural resources. Through separate and unique efforts such as the Russian Dandelion and Guayule
research projects, the Bridgestone Group is working to develop tyres using 100% sustainable materials
(renewable and recyclable resources).
To learn more about the PENRA Russian Dandelion
project, visit www.oardc.osu.edu/penra/.