Tires on the road to green

You don’t usually associate Danisco, globally-known for its yummy biscuits, in producing rubber tire chemicals.

However, Danisco’s biotechnology company Genencor has been active in producing renewable-based chemicals and fuels, and just this week announced a joint collaboration deal with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company to develop biobased isoprene – a key feedstock in rubber tire manufacture.

This is good news for the rubber industry as the petroleum-derived isoprene is said to be globally tight, although this situation might change by the time Genencor will produce its BioIsoprene in 2012.

Still, a biobased alternative to synthetic rubber is very much welcome by tire manufacturers who have to depend on the volatility of crude oil price as well as that of natural rubber supply. The added important factor is the greenness of BioIsoprene production compared to traditional isoprene processing. I’m sure green marketing labels for Goodyear tires are ready to be plastered.

Speaking of green tires, recent developments in this area also include ExxonMobil’s new Exxcore dynamically vulcanized alloy (DVA) for tire inner liners, which the company said helps improve vehicle fuel efficiency; and Chrysler eliminating the use of lead wheel weights on its vehicles by using steel and zinc instead.

ICIS Chemical Business also published on September 8 its Automotive feature which includes (among others) articles such as the growing use of plastics to make cars more fuel-efficient by Elaine Burridge; budget cars in developing countries by Malini Hariharan; and catalysts developments to lower car emissions by Sean Milmo.

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