A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Hankook Tire and Kumho Petrochemical will see the duo working on the development of eco-friendly tires using eco solution-polymerized styrene-butadiene rubber (eco-SSBR).
Under the MoU, Hankook will be tasked with testing and evaluating its own tires to ascertain their physical properties and performance qualities before developing environmentally friendly tires using eco-SSBR – manufactured through the application of Kumho Petrochemical’s recycled styrene monomer (RSM).
Eco-SSBR applies RSM instead of basic, raw material styrene to SSBR, a high-performance synthetic rubber that delivers enhanced wear resistance and fuel efficiency for tires produced using the eco-friendly material.
At present, Kumho Petrochemical is evaluating whether to invest in eco-SSBR and is targeting commercialization of the material in 2026. Through the recent agreement, Hankook will be the first company to be supplied with eco-SSBR once production begins.
The MoU has also aided Hankook Tire in securing synthetic rubber – certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus. This will aid the tire manufacturer in achieving a company target of using 55% sustainable raw materials by 2025.