commercialization process of dandelion natural rubber


On April 7 Goodyear announced a multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and BioMADE to partner with Ohio-based Farmed Materials, To develop domestic natural rubber sources from specific species of dandelion and accelerate the commercialization process of dandelion natural rubber.

The project is based on studies analysing more than 2,500 plants, only a few of which have been found to have properties suitable for use in tyres. Taraxacum Kok-Saghyz, a dandelion known as TK, has proved to be a valuable substitute for the natural rubber tree.

Farming materials have shown initial positive results in the TRADITIONAL knowledge pilot programme with a bumper harvest, requiring additional planting and funding.
"Natural rubber remains a key raw material for the tire industry," said Chris Helsel, Senior vice President and CHIEF technology officer of Goodyear global Operations. "This is a critical time to develop domestic sources of natural rubber, which could help mitigate future supply chain challenges."
"This partnership highlights how BioMADE is bringing companies of different sizes together to solve critical problems," said Melanie Tomczak, Chief Technology Officer of BioMADE. We are excited about this project, which brings a lot of promise to domestic rubber production and demonstrates how bioindustrial manufacturing can help protect domestic supply chains."

It usually takes seven years for rubber trees to produce the latex needed for rubber production, but dandelions can be harvested every six months. TK dandelions are also resilient and can grow in more temperate climates, such as Ohio.

With support from the Department of Defense, the partnership between Goodyear, BioMADE, and Farmed Materials will accelerate TK commercialization and plant and harvest TK seeds in Ohio beginning in spring 2022.
The natural rubber produced will be used in the production of military aircraft tires, which will be manufactured and tested by Goodyear in partnership with AFRL at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, under a rigorous application program.