The humble dandelion looks set to play a key role in the future development of tyres, as its roots are a source of high-quality natural rubber, according to Continental Tyres.
Continental are currently testing car and truck tyres made with Taraxagum dandelion rubber and say it won’t be long before the first forklift tyres roll out of the laboratory.
Continental’s tyre division in Hannover have been working with a team of biologists to see if Taraxagum rubber made from dandelions could be an alternative to natural rubber in the production of tyres.
The dandelions are cultivated on land that is not suitable for agricultural production and in most cases the land is near to their production facilities so it will reduce the transportation distances and therefore reduce carbon miles to deliver the materials.
Continental’s goal is to reduce the overall cost and impact that tyres have on an operation as well as ensuring that all forklift fleets fitted with Continental tyres operate as safely as possible. They plan to monitor the internal temperature of the tyres so they can schedule when and how long a forklift truck needs to rest in order for the tyres to cool down. This would extend the life of the tyres and ensure the truck is fully utilised.