Continental, a multinational company that produces tires for passenger cars, two-wheelers, and commercial vehicles recently launched Conti GreenConcept, a new type of retreadable tire that is made from rice and dandelions.
Tires are one of the least environmentally friendly components of a car. Aside from its production, which involves a complicated process of assembling and curing numerous components made from raw materials such as rubber, wire, carbon black, and chemical compounds, tires are difficult to recycle once their treads wore out.
Although tires are almost half rubber, the rubber cannot be melted down and reused like many other polymers. That’s because the rubber is vulcanized, a process pioneered by Charles Goodyear in 1839 that involves cross-linking sulfur, and this method is difficult to reverse.
Continental wants to change that and create a retreadable tire that is more environmentally friendly.
The Conti GreenConcept tire is unusual in that more than half of the raw materials used in its manufacture come from renewable and recycled sources.
The company claims that renewable materials account for 35 percent of this eco-friendly tire. It uses silicates produced from rice husk ashes, dandelions, vegetable oils, and resins instead of silicates used in traditional tire production.
Meanwhile, reclaimed steel and recovered carbon black account for 17% of the recycled materials. The company’s ContiRe.Tex technology will also employ polyester recovered from recycled PET bottles.
Continental claims that GreenConcept is about 40% lighter than regular tires, weighing only 7.5kg. This was made feasible by a novel casing design that had an optimized tread pattern, a weight-optimal core, and a unique sidewall.
The replaceable section of the tire is indicated by an inner green layer. An internal sensor keeps track of tire pressure, temperature, and tread depth. When it comes to treading, the concept tire is stated to last longer than most of its competition.
This is because Continental designed it to be retreadable numerous times. Retreading is becoming more popular on heavy-duty commercial vehicle tires. In passenger automobiles, however, it remains uncommon.
But with Continental’s new concept tires, the number of resources needed for tire production can be minimized while still ensuring these tires last longer than their normal lifespan.