Michelin Aims for Its Tyres to be 100% sustainable by 2050

Michelin says it is committing to making its tyres 100 per cent sustainable by 2050. The company says that nearly 30 per cent of the components used in the manufacture of its tyres are already made from natural, recycled or otherwise sustainable raw materials.

While natural rubber is the main component of its products, Michelin says more than 200 ingredients are used – including metal, fibres and components that strengthen a tyre’s structure, like carbon black, silica and plasticisers – and that it has an R&D team committed to finding ways to improve tyre safety, durability and performance while working towards that 100 per cent sustainability goal.

The company has forged partnerships with companies that it says will help it meet its ambitious target, including Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles – two companies with which it is working on producing bio-sourced butadiene to replace petroleum-based butadiene. 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 tyres every year.

Another partnership is with Canada-based Pyrowave that can produce recycled styrene from plastics found in packaging – such as yogurt pots and food trays . Styrene is used to manufacture synthetic rubber for tyres and a wide variety of consumer goods.

Michelin says it is also working with French start-up Carbios to recycle plastics into a polyester yarn used in tyre manufacturing. It claims that some four billion plastic bottles could potentially be recycled into its tyres every year.

In February, Michelin also announced that it will launch the construction of its first tyre recycling plant with Swedish company Enviro. The Swedish company has developed a technology to recover carbon black, pyrolysis oil, steel, gas and other new, high-quality reusable materials from end-of-life tyres.

THE PILOT SPORT EV TYRE

Along with the announcement of its 100 per cent sustainable tyre goal, Michelin has also launched its first tyre designed to address the specific demands made by electric sports cars – the Michelin Pilot Sport EV.

The tyre comes via a development process that benefitted directly from the company’s involvement in the Formula E electric vehicle motorsport series.

The Michelin Pilot Sport EV incorporates ElectricGrip CompoundTM technology which features a hard compound for the centre of the tread to provide the grip required to handle high torque characteristics of electric sports cars. The sidewalls carry over the same pattern and velvet-finish markings of Michelin’s Formula E tyre.

The company says the tyre offers optimal grip on dry and wet roads (taking into account the higher weight and weight distribution characteristics associated with electric sports cars), delivers excellent resistance to wear in response to the high torque and acceleration forces of EV performance cars, and increases range. It also offers a substantial decrease in road noise thanks to acoustic technology.

Source: Motor Trader e-Magazine (April 2021)

15 April 2021

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