Continental has installed the first machines to be used for the research, extraction and potential industrialization of Russian dandelion plant roots at Taraxagum Lab Anklam in Germany.
The tire manufacturer aims to use dandelion rubber as a sustainable alternative to rubber from the rain forest, while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions thanks to short transportation routes.
The immediate aim, however, is to obtain rubber from the dandelion roots from late fall. The extraction unit has a footprint of around 50m2 (538ft2) and weighs almost 40 tons. The lab will be able to produce significantly more rubber in Anklam than was previously possible with the systems at the premises of test partner ZOZ in Olpe.
“We are well on schedule,” said Continental’s Taraxagum Lab Anklam site manager Dr Carsten Venz. “At first, we were worried that the long winter would put a few obstacles in our way, but now things are progressing quickly.”