One Day You Might Be Driving on Dandelions

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No, not because you took a wrong turn and went crashing through a fence and onto a middle-school soccer field. We’re talking about the rubber in your tires.

Believe it or not, rubber is not the most ideal natural resource for any product. It’s hard to grow, the trees it comes from only appear in certain (sometimes environmentally sensitive) regions, and the rubber itself is a hassle to cultivate and extract. Thus, creating synthetic rubber has a lot of upsides — except that it comes from petroleum.

Enter researchers at Ohio State University, who have found a way to process natural rubber from the weed known as the Russian dandelion, which can be found in just about every poorly maintained yard in North America. Between 10% and 20% of the plant’s root can be made into rubber, and the scientists believe they can engineer plants for even higher yields.

The initial processing plant will produce 20 million to 60 million tons of rubber annually, and Ohio State has already partnered with Bridgestone to look into using the substance for tires.

Bridgestone Could Begin Using Rubber from Dandelions (Autoblog Green)

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