Bridgestone Corp. and Ajinomoto Co. used biomass feedstock instead of rubber trees to create high-quality synthetic rubber for tires, the companies said May 31.
The companies, which have been developing sustainable materials for tires, said the synthetic rubber has nearly the same properties as natural rubber. They plan to introduce synthetic rubber tires to the market around 2020.
The main raw material in existing tires is isoprene extracted from Para rubber trees.
The companies say the supply of isoprene from Para rubber trees could eventually be disrupted because the plant can be cultivated only in areas around the equator.
Food maker Ajinomoto succeeded in producing isoprene from biomass feedstock by applying its fermentation technologies.
Tire maker Bridgestone created the synthetic rubber from this isoprene through its polymerization catalyst technologies.
The companies envisage using corn and other plants as alternative resources to create synthetic fibers.
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