Tires made from dandelions

Article by Cassie Stepanek

Leading tire manufacturer Continental and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology has teamed up to create "Rubin"- rubber that is made from the latex of dandelion plants for tire production.

Natural rubber is already in high demand. However, the latex that is extracted from trees to make natural rubber that is made today only comes from trees that grow in remote parts of the tropics.

"We expect to be able to produce large amounts of dandelion rubber with at least equivalent performance properties to conventional rubber harvested from rubber trees. And as a result, we will put ourselves in a position where we are much less dependent on the annual harvest situation in the subtropical growing regions."

- Dr. Andreas Topp, Head of Material and Process Development and Industrialization for Tires at Continental

"The production of rubber from dandelion roots is far less weather-dependent than production from rubber trees. Furthermore, the new system is so undemanding in terms of agricultural requirements that it opens up a whole new potential- particularly for areas of land in Europe that are currently uncultivated. By growing the crops much closer to our production sites, we can also significantly reduce the burden on the environment and our outlay for logistics" 

- Nikolai Setzer, Head of the Tire Division at Continental