Making strides in eco-friendly rubbers

rubberTHE rubber industry is closely following the plastics sector with companies making headway in the eco-friendly sector.

US-based Elevance Renewable Sciences, which produces speciality chemicals from natural oils, and Paris-based Hutchinson Worldwide are to collaborate the use of Elevance’s renewable products as processing aids in Hutchinson’s rubber compounds. The companies say the 21 million tonnes of rubber consumed globally
warrants the need for an alternative to petroleum-based rubber. Hutchinson will manufacture the materials using Elevance’s metathesis technology.

Elsewhere, Polish rubber producer Synthos and French biotech are to work together to develop a bio-butadiene.

About 10 million tonnes of butadiene are produced each year, of which two-thirds is used to manufacture synthetic rubber and the rest to produce nylon, latices, ABS and other polymers. Under the agreement,
both parties will have different responsibilities with Global Bioenergies taking care of R&D and Synthos
to commercialise the biobutadiene.

Global Bioenergies will also receive R&D funding, development fees and royalty payments from Synthos on sales of the biobutadiene for rubber uses. Global Bioenergies will retain exclusive rights on nonrubber
applications. Synthos will also take up a EUR1.4 million equity investment in Global Bioenergies, representing a 3.6% stake.

Meanwhile, another US company Lehigh Technologies, which manufactures sustainable micronised rubber powders, has expanded its product line by offering butyl-based MicroDyne and PolyDyne materials for tyre companies that are facing rising butyl rubber costs due to short supply. The company has also hit a major milestone of having 100 million tyres manufactured containing its products and has now launched a goal to hit a target of 1 billion tyres. (PRA)