Bridgestone Americas and Versalis have entered into a collaboration to develop a technology package, with the aim of commercializing guayule.
The partnership brings together Bridgestone’s expertise in guayule agriculture and production technologies with Versalis’s core strengths in commercial-scale process engineering and market development for renewables.
Technology developed as part of the project will also be made available to other industrial partners.
“Every collaboration, including this latest one with Versalis, brings us closer to our goal of developing new, domestic and sustainable sources for natural rubber that ultimately benefit our customers and our natural environment through more sustainable rubber products,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer, Bridgestone Americas.
“This work is one of many ways we are using innovation to achieve our long-term vision of manufacturing products from raw materials that are fully renewable and sustainable by 2050 and beyond.”
Experts at the Bridgestone Biorubber Process Research Center (BPRC) in Mesa, Arizona, will look at optimizing guayule process technologies to achieve high product yields and quality. They will also look at developing productive varieties of guayule using the latest genetic technologies.
Finally, experts from the two companies will put together growing protocols with the aim of positioning guayule as an attractive and profitable crop for independent growers in different regions.
Versalis is to head-up product development activities to monetize the guayule rubber production, also for non-rubber components.
As for resins, market applications will include adhesives and wood protection while bagasse has shown promising performance as a feedstock for the production of industrial sugars suitable for biofuels or chemical precursors.