Continental is for the first time unveiling components and tyres for trucks and buses made from natural rubber derived from dandelion roots.
At the forthcoming International Motor Show Commercial Vehicles, the technology company will be showcasing for the first time truck tyres made from this innovative and sustainable dandelion rubber: Conti EcoPlus HD3, which were manufactured in summer 2016.
On show will be also the prototype for an engine mount that links the powertrain with the chassis. This insulates the structure-borne noise from the engine, thereby enhancing ride quality and driver safety. Another sampled product will be the first example of an intermediate propeller shaft bearing made from the new material, named Taraxagum. This stabilizes and minimizes the transmission of vibrations to the chassis.
As an agricultural crop, dandelions have the potential to become an alternative, environmentally friendly raw material source, thereby helping to reduce our dependency on traditionally produced natural rubber. But that’s not all: The plants can be cultivated in Northern and Western Europe, which makes transportation routes to the European production sites much shorter and contributes to the sustainable use of existing resources.
Continental has already recognized this potential, and as early as 2014 launched the first premium winter tire featuring a tread made from pure dandelion rubber. In the same year, plans began for the production of the first commercial vehicle tire which needs significantly more natural rubber (20 kg to 25 kg) than a passenger tire (1 kg to 3 kg). At the end of 2015 ContiTech tested the new raw material for anti-vibration technology as well. “The properties that we demand of natural rubber are different from those that our Tire colleagues expect,” explains Dr. Anna Misiun, who leads the activities involving dandelion rubber at ContiTech. “For example, our products have to withstand extremely high dynamic loads at high temperatures.”