Michelin outlines goal to make tires from only sustainable materials by 2050
French multinational tyre manufacturer Michelin Group plans to make tyres from only sustainable materials by 2050, as the company has claimed. The raw materials for the future tyres will be renewable, recycled, bio-sourced or otherwise sustainable. The idea to make tyres from 100% sustainable materials has been inspired by the airless, connected, rechargeable and sustainable Vision Concept Tyre that was showcased in 2017.
As Michelin Group claims, currently it manufactures tyres using 30% raw materials that are natural, recycled or otherwise sustainable. As Michelin claims, its tyres are high-tech products comprising more than 200 ingredients. While the main ingredient for these rubbers is natural rubber, other ingredients include synthetic rubber, metal, fibres, and components that increase the structural strength. These include carbon black, silica and plasticizers, resins, etc.
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These materials are blended in perfect proportions in a bid to deliver an optimal balance of performance, drivability and safety, besides reducing the tyre’s environmental impact.
To meet the objective, Michelin Group is investing heavily in research and development and making partnerships with innovative startups. The tyre manufacturer claims that around 6,000 people are working in seven research and development centres around the world and mastering 350 areas of expertise. Combined, the company has filed for 10,000 patents covering tyre design and manufacturing.
Michelin has entred into partnerships with Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles in 2019 and working on the BioButterfly project. Under this project, the companies are working on producing bio-sourced butadiene that will replace petroleum-based butadiene. The tyre company also says that using the biomass from wood, rice husks, leaves, corn stalks and other plant waste, 4.2 million tonnes of wood chips could be incorporated into Michelin tires every year.
Apart from that, Michelin has also signed a partnership with Canada-based Pyrowave in November 2020 to produce recycled styrene from plastics found in packaging, like yogurt pots and food trays, or in insulating panels. Other companies working with Michelin include French startup Carbios and Swedish company Enviro.
Headquartered in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Michelin is present in 170 countries across the world and employs more than 1.27 lakh people across 69 tyre production facilities that produced around 200 million tyres in 2019. Meanwhile, earlier this month Michelin has announced that it will increase the tyre prices in India by 8% from March 2021 to offset the impact of rising production costs.