Continental Wins GreenTec Award 2014 for Dandelion Rubber Project
The project, in partnership with the Fraunhofer institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology at the university of Muenster in Muenster, Germany (IME), has taken several years of experimentation, and has proven that dandelion plants are able to produce the same quality of rubber as rubber trees.
The project uses a Russian variety of the domestic plants, which include large quantities of rubber within its white latex sap. The dandelion also has a number of decisive advantages over the rubber tree: Its vegetation period only lasts one year, not several years, the plants can be harvested immediately, and be further optimised by breeding. At the same time, it is less vulnerable to pests, and can be grown on marginal land and in temperate conditions, unlike traditional rubber trees which require tropical conditions.
The development means that rubber can be produced more easily and readily, with less of an impact on the environment. Using dandelion rubber will help shorten transport routes to Continentals production sites, helping to reduce the energy required to produce tyres and help meet rising demand for rubber without sacrif
First presented in 2008, the Green Tech awards, of which there are 14 different categories, are Europes biggest environmental and business awards. A 60-member jury panel consisting of experts from industry, academia, trade associations, and the media praised the the project for being an outstanding example of commitment to the environment and pioneering environmental technology.
Commenting on the award, Nikolai Seltzer, Member of the Executive Board of Continental and Head of Tire Division, said: “We are delighted to receive this award for our dandelion rubber project. At Continental, we are constantly striving to find ecologically, economically and socially viable solutions to meet the growing demand for our product. We are convinced that the use of rubber from the dandelion root will make our tire production considerably more efficient and sustainable, and the full potential of this technology will become clear over the next few years.”
Continental’s aim is to develop its dandelion rubber tire production, and begin testing the first prototype tires on public roads over the next five years.
With sales of around €33.3 billion in 2013, Continental is one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers. As a provider of tires, brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently employs around 182,000 people in 49 countries.
In addition to that, Continental’s Tire Division is an Official Sponsor of the German DFB Cup, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and UEFA EURO 2016™ in France.
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