Five years ago, the leading tire manufacturer Continental and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) announced that their joint development project to manufacture tires using industrial-grade rubber made from dandelion plants was on the brink of a breakthrough. Since then, there have been regular reports on how well their pioneering efforts have been going, culminating most recently in the news that the new “Taraxagum Lab Anklam” research and experimentation laboratory has opened after investments running to 35 million euros, just one year after breaking ground at the site.
During the opening ceremony in Germany’'s north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Nikolai Setzer, member of the Executive Board at Continental AG and head of the Tire division, said: "We are proud to open this lighthouse project today. We are the first tire manufacturer in the world to invest such a significant amount in industrializing dandelion rubber. We see Russian dandelions as an important alternative and complementary to conventional natural rubber from hevea brasiliensis, allowing us to meet the rising global demand in an environmentally compatible and reliable way." If the trials continue to produce such positive results, Continental plans to start using this raw material in series production within the next ten years with the aim of acquiring a growing proportion of the rubber it requires from dandelion plants.
Continental Reifen Deutschland GmbH (30165 Hannover, Germany)