We Might Be Able to Make Tires from Plants

Posted by Andrew Price

1269640706-old-car-tires-photo-001We're not going to be getting rid of cars completely any time soon, so it's good to know we might be able to make tires a little less destructive.

According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association trade group, it takes about 7 gallons of oil to make 1 car tire (the oil is turned into isoprene), and 1 billion of them are made each year. But this could change within about 5 years thanks to research done by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and the biotechnology company Genencor. They're working on ways to make bio-isoprene using plants like sugar cane, corn, or switchgrass, thus potentially reducing the environmental impact of the tire industry (they could also improve by using clean energy to power their factories, reducing waste, and making low-rolling resistance tires that last longer).
Treehugger has the details.Photo (cc) from Flickr user vagawi