Building work is now well underway on Continental’s Taraxagum research lab in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, which is scheduled to become operational in the autumn of 2018.
Following extensive testing, which showed extremely positive results, the tire manufacturer is planning to use the Russian dandelion material – badged Taraxagum – in future mass production tires.
Research at the facility will focus on the cultivation and processing of the Russian dandelion as an alternative source of raw material to traditional rubber tree plantations in the tropics. The Ministry of Economics is to provide funds for the facility through a state subsidy of US$13.6m (€11.6m).
Dr Mergell, head of R&D passenger and light truck tires at Continental, said, “We are delighted to have found a location here in Anklam that meets the needs of our research and testing. We hope that through improvements in dandelion cultivation and processing we will in future be able to meet part of our natural rubber needs in a more sustainable way.
“The plants we require for Taraxagum, as we call our dandelion rubber, can also be grown in temperate regions, helping to avoid monoculture and slash-and-burn farming in the tropics, while also substantially reducing the distances the raw material has to travel to our tire production sites.”
Continental first applied for planning permission for the lab in August 2016 and started work on schedule. It is expected that around 20 experts will be employed there.
November 21, 2017