Sumitomo Rubber Industries and an American Biotechnology company Kultevat inc. have entered into a joint R&D agreement to develop Russian Dandelion as an alternative source of natural rubber for tyre making.
Currently Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd is highly dependent upon Hevea rubber plantations of South-east Asia for sourcing latex. Dandelions can be grown in many more regions around the world, including North America. The plant is already being grown for processing, testing and prototype development. The company expects commercial sales of the rubber to begin in 2016.
This technology exchange will compliment Sumitomo’s efforts to develop environmentally sustainable tyres. The outcome of this venture is likely to result in the development of tyres that will be 100 percent fossil resource free, fuel-efficient, and will include run-flat technology.
Sumitomo’s spokesperson reportedly said, “We are now examining the potential of Russian Dandelions as a new, alternative source of natural rubber to possibly replace the conventional source of natural rubber: Para rubber trees.”