Tire Rubber Alternative Market: Snapshot

Serious imbalance between global tire consumption and waste in form of recycling or reuse is primarily fuelling the demand for environment friendly alternatives of tire rubber to the conventional tire rubber. It is this demand that is expected to drive the global tire rubber alternative market.

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In addition, traditional tire rubber incineration procedure is not only costly but also ineffective. The environmentally unsustainable impact is thus quoted as a much larger challenge that the manufacturers of both tire rubber and tire come across.

The study for global tire rubber alternative market include dandelions as one of the main sources for tire rubber alternative. These flowers are all set to become a key element to the future of global tire rubber alternative. Most people consider dandelions as a menace. But some tire making companies such as Continental Tire, these dandelions are embraced and the flowering weed is as a key elementof the future of tire making.

Together with EKUSA, Julius Kuehn-Institute, and The Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, Continental Tire has tested and produced the very first tires where the tread is made totally out of dandelion natural rubber as a polymer. Continental Tire also has plans in place to start manufacturing of consumer road tires made totally from dandelion-derived rubber in another five to ten years.

Between 10 and 30 percent of all car tirescomprises natural rubber, while tires of trucks can contain proportionally higher amounts. Today, natural rubber is still fetched almost exclusively from the rubber tree, Heveabrasiliensis.  The rubber tree can only be cultivated in locations that is referred to as the “rubber belt” and is located around the equator, which is just a fraction of the world’s total land surface.

Global requirement for natural rubber is set to increase in the next few years and but simultaneously, the changing world makes it quite a challenge to meet this rising demand. The global tire rubber alternative market is likely to gain impetus from the inability of natural rubber to meet the rising demand.

Severe imbalance between global tire waste and consumption in form of reuse or recycling is predominantly fueling the need for ecofriendly tire rubber alternatives to conventional tire rubber. In addition to the cost-intensive yet ineffective nature of traditional tire rubber incineration, the environmentally unsustainable impact is cited as a much bigger challenge facing manufacturers of both, tire and tire rubber.

Looking at the health and safety risks posed by massive volumes of tire waste stockpiles, it is more likely that automotive tire manufacturers will continue to focus on material innovations in sustainable tire rubber alternatives, pushing the growth of tire rubber alternative market.

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Companies Prioritizing On-site R&D of Tire Rubber Alternatives

Prominent players in the rubber alternative market are identified to emphasize on-site R&D of environmentally sound tire rubber alternatives. Strategic research agreements are projected to further improve prospects of the emergence of innovative tire rubber alternatives in coming years.

  • India-based BKT (Balkrishna Industries Limited) is currently positioning the brand as a leading designer and manufacturer of tires manufactured from novel tire rubber alternatives. The recognized off-highway vehicle tire maker launched their on-site R&D center earlier in 2018, and is maintaining the R&D focus on sustainability i.e. natural as well as synthetic tire rubber alternatives. BKT recently signed a collaborative R&D agreement with Kultevat, Inc., a leading biotech firm in the US green technology realm. Sustainable extraction and stabilization of high-quality dandelion rubber as a tire rubber alternative is currently in the spotlight at BKT’s R&D center based in Bhuj.
  • Bridgestone Corporation is promoting tires of passenger cars that are 100% sourced from natural tire rubber alternative – guayule. The company is conducting entire research at their Italy, Rome, and Japan-based technical centers. Guayule-derived tire rubber alternative is cultivated at the company’s US-based Biorubber Process Research Center, and is used as a tire rubber alternative replacing conventional rubber in sidewalls, tread, bead filler, and other major components.
  • Continental AG recently received recognition for production, testing, and industrialization of commercially using 100% dandelion as a tire rubber alternative. The company, at their Germany-based research center, is planning to innovate and launch the industrial series of Russian dandelion-derived tire rubber alternative in the near future.
  • Apollo Vredestein Europe (Apollo Tyres), under the EU-PEARLS project, recently announced R&D of natural tire rubber alternatives derived from both dandelion and guayule. The company is currently concentrating on extensive testing of the innovated tire rubber alternatives, before they are launch in tire rubber alternative market.
  • Pirelli & C. S.p.A. introduced a new guayule-derived tire rubber alternative in the ultra-high performance (UHP) tire segment. The company’s research division intends to develop tire rubber alternatives to synthetic polymers that are derived from oil products.
  • Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., in partnership with PanAridus, LLC, has been a part of a consortium granted by USDA/USDOE and funded by the Federal Government. The research consortium is currently focusing on commercialization of guayule crop cultivation to better cater to expanding demand from the tire rubber alternative market.

Rubber Market Facing Challenges due to Hike in Price & Unsustainability

Although the primary natural rubber sources are not anticipated to diminish any time soon, rubber has become one of the prime traded commodities – eventually resulting in mounting prices over the recent past. With the precarious investment scenario developed around rubber market that has led to soaring prices of tires, it becomes imperative to invest prudently in discovering better, lesser harmful, ecofriendly tire rubber alternatives.

Over Hevea tree, the most sought after natural rubber source, Guayule – a desert shrub – has been considered to be the most productive tire rubber alternative. While Russian dandelion has also been a favored choice as a tire rubber alternative among manufacturers owing to its high latex rubber content, entire commercialization of tires that are made from tire rubber alternatives is still to be achieved.

Market Witnessing R&D of Tire Rubber Alternatives with Reduced Carbon Footprint

Amerityre Corporation recently stepped in the green products manufacturing segment, with automotive tires that are made from 100% non-toxic raw materials by the processes that support zero-emission objective. Unlike conventional tire rubber, Amerityre’s tire rubber alternatives are devoid of carbon black, benzene, and polyurethane foam tire products. With low ownership and maintenance costs, these tire rubber alternatives are claimed to be of superior quality and high energy efficient. The tire rubber alternatives by Amerityre are specifically invented to support conventional yet non-harmful tire disposal practices and recycling – with a much lower, sustainable carbon footprint.

Global Tire Rubber Alternative Market Taxonomy

The tire rubber alternative market is classified on the basis of the source of tire rubber alternative and the type of vehicle.

By Source –

  • Dandelion
  • Guayule
  • Others

Based on the Type of Vehicle –

  • Passenger Cars
  • Commercial Vehicles
  • Off-highway Vehicles

The geographical analysis of global tire rubber alternative market categorized the tire rubber alternative landscape into five key regions.

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