As clean and efficient as cars may be becoming, there are still major elements that rely on unsustainable materials or practices. While tires can be recycled, they rely heavily on petroleum to be produced. But Bridgestone is working on a 100% sustainable tire that uses natural materials without reducing durability or versatility.
With over a billion tires manufactured every year, tires take up a large chunk of the resources required to build a car. While many tires use natural rubber, synthetic rubber makes up more than two-thirds of annual rubber production, and is created via polymerization of petroleum-based precursors called monomers. And as well all know, petroleum is neither sustainable nor clean.
Bridgestone hopes to reduce, or even eliminate, the need for petrol-based tires by turning to natural alternatives. The tire uses natural rubber from hevea trees and guayule and fibers from plants, in addition to some synthetic rubbers created from biomass materials. The goal is to produce a completely sustainable tire that will not deplete limited resources like petroleum.
While still just a concept, the Bridgestone biomass tire could drastically reduce both waste tire material, and the strain on our energy sources. Other companies have developed tires using orange peels, and even self-inflating tires, while other technologies seek to eliminate tires altogether.
But for now, Bridgestone’s sustainable tire concept may be the best hope of creating a more environmentally-friendly tire.
Source: Engineering On The Edge