With every aspect of our lives moving in the ‘green’ direction, who would expect tyres to be left behind? That’s right, you heard it here first. It’s time for a new age in the tyre industry as well. We are soon going to see natural tyres made from agriculturally cultivated dandelions.
Mitas Leading the Way to Dandelion Tyres
Mitas, the Czech based tyre company is all set to test the first lot of tyres made from rubber extracted from the Taraxacum koksaghyz – a Kazakh dandelion. The extract from the plants will be used in the manufacturing process. They hope to have the first prototype of the tyre ready in early 2015. The tyres will be made from rubber material from the flower as well as some rubber tree latex compounds.
Mitas is not the only company exploring this option, with several other vying to test the prototype as well. But in the long run, the hope is that dandelion tyres will become a reality and we will soon see the natural tyres going into production in the next few years.
A New Age of Tyre Manufacturing
The sales and marketing director of Mitas, Andrew Mabin announced in a media release that they are constantly examining new ways to use natural and renewable materials to produce the tyres. He also said that the research department was actively engaged in finding ways to improve the manufacturing process by searching for substitutes and new raw materials.
Mitas has joined hands with DRIVE4EU, which is a project dedicated to demonstrate and encourage the production of natural rubber from the dandelion plant. DRIVE4EU is a special project which aims at developing products from extract of the dandelion plant to replace vulcanized rubber. Its objective is to make the European Union less dependent on imported rubber materials. Mitas is actively supporting this movement and is at the forefront in research and testing for the use of the dandelion in tyre manufacturing.
Jiri Brejcha from Mitas emphasised that the idea is to have a European manufactured tyre made from cultivated plants grown within Europe itself. This move to produce agriculture tyres from natural dandelion will prove to be a big step in tyre manufacturing reducing the burden of having to import rubber and other raw materials.
A flower that is abhorred by many for disturbing their precious garden landscapes may very well become the new hero in Europe. While the Kazakh dandelion is a wild cousin of the traditional dandelions, we may soon see fields of the flower planted in bulk across the European landscape if all goes well. It is expected that researchers will need a few more years of trial and error experiments to create the perfect dandelion plant which can produce the first natural tyres for this huge market. There is a long way to go, but the ball has started rolling in the right direction. Only time and the tyre tests will tell. But we do expect to see a new wave in the tyre industry for sure.