Continental previews Conti GreenConcept tire at IAA Mobility show

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Continental has released details of its Conti GreenConcept tire concept, following a co-study in which, the tire manufacturer says, it utilized both current and emerging technologies to aid in the design of a sustainable passenger car tire.

The company says that resource consumption was minimized across the tire’s entire value chain, including sourcing, the procurement of raw materials, the differing stages of production and the ways in which the product’s service life could be extended. As a result, engineers were able to develop a tire with a high percentage of traceable, renewable and recycled materials, that is both lightweight and retreadable.

“Conti GreenConcept underscores our commitment to becoming the most progressive tire company in terms of environmental and social responsibility by the year 2030, and this ambition applies to every single link in the value chain,” commented David O’Donnell, responsible for Continental’s global tire original equipment business.

“The way we see it today, sustainably sourced raw materials, lightweight design and tread renewal are the key ingredients in making future generations of tires more sustainable. Our concept study exemplifies Continental’s ongoing efforts to fully transition its global tire production to sustainable materials,” explained O’Donnell.

More than half of the raw materials used during Conti GreenConcept manufacturing are either from renewable sources or recycled. The GreenConcept consists of 35% renewables, made up of various biomaterials including natural rubber from dandelions, silicate from the ash of rice husks and vegetable oils and resins.

In addition to this, 17% of the tire is made using recycled materials including reclaimed steel and recovered carbon black, and polyester from recycled plastic bottles has been utilized for the tire’s casing. Continental plans to roll out its ContiRe.Tex technology, which utilizes polyester yarn from recycled PET bottles for the manufacture of tires, in 2022. At present, conventional passenger car tires contain around 400g of polyester yarn each, while a full set of four tires produced using Continental’s process reuses 60 PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles.

COKOON, a technology for the eco-friendly bonding of textile reinforcements with rubber compounds, was developed by Continental and Kordsa for the GreenConcept.

The tire weighs 7.5kg, its weight reduction due to a new casing design with a weight-optimized core, an optimized tread pattern and a different sidewall to make the product up to 40% lighter than conventional tires.

A specially designed tread offers a greater margin of safety than conventional tires with the same tread depth and the materials used have further reduced the tire’s weight and, as a result, lowered the rolling resistance. Continental states that following in-house measurements, the GreenConcept’s rolling resistance is around 25% less than current class A tires.

The natural rubber utilized for the Conti GreenConcept tread compound is 100% Taraxagum natural rubber and can be retreaded multiple times. The green-colored tread baseline visually marks the transition from tread to casing, and undamaged casings are capable of being reused several times over.

“Conti GreenConcept delivers maximum performance in terms of both flexibility and sustainability, enabling modern mobility to truly hit the streets,” said O’Donnell.

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKi Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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