Goodyear has announced it is developing a source of natural rubber derived from dandelions that it can use for its tires. Yes, dandelions. Flowers. Tires made of out flowers. Dandelion tires.
The idea stems from a desire to develop a US-based source of natural rubber—the company says currently, 90% of the world’s rubber is sourced from tropical locations. So, Goodyear will, together with the US DoD (that’s Department of Defense, not a newly formed Department of Dandelions, sadly) and others, work with a company called Farmed Materials to harvest dandelions.
An alternative to rubber trees
Why dandelions? It was a root-and-branch approach that analyzed over 2,500 plants to find any with materials suitable enough to use for tires. Turns out a species of dandelion known as TK (Taraxacum kok-saghyz, pictured above) could be a useful alternative to natural rubber trees.
Indeed, rubber trees are said to take seven years to produce the latex needed for rubber production. Dandelions can do it in six months, are resilient, and can grow in temperate climates. First tests will be to use this new natural rubber for military aircraft tires.
Think this budding idea will bloom?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.
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