Goodyear turning a lawn nuisance into tires

Dandelions can be harvested every six months, which is much faster than rubber trees which typically take seven years to yield the latex that is needed for rubber production. 

The roots of Taraxacum kok-saghyz, a species of dandelion known as TK that has proven to be a valuable alternative to natural rubber trees. Photo credit: Farmed Materials
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Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear is collaborating with the Department of Defense, the Air Force Research Lab, BioMADE and Farmed Materials to accelerate commercialization of natural rubber from — dandelions, the company says. 

Goodyear says a specific species of dandelion is being used. “Taraxacum kok-saghyz, a species of dandelion known as TK, has proven to be a valuable alternative to natural rubber trees,” Goodyear said in a news release.

“Global demand for natural rubber continues to grow, and it remains a key raw material for the tire industry,” said Chris Helsel, senior vice president Global Operations and Chief Technology Officer for Goodyear. “This is a critical time to develop a domestic source of natural rubber, which may help mitigate future supply chain challenges.”

“This partnership highlights how BioMADE brings together companies of different sizes to solve critical problems,” said Melanie Tomczak, Chief Technology Officer at BioMADE. “We’re excited about this project, which holds a lot of promise for domestic rubber production and shows how bioindustrial manufacturing can help secure the domestic supply chain.”

Dandelions can be harvested every six months, which is much faster than rubber trees which typically take seven years to yield the latex that is needed for rubber production. 

While rubber trees typically take seven years to produce the latex needed for rubber production, TK dandelions are also resilient and can grow in more temperate climates, such as Ohio.

The rubber from dandelions will be used in the production of military aircraft tires by Goodyear in cooperation with the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. 

“If additional testing provides promising results, Goodyear sees potential for the application of TK rubber to be used in all tire applications,” Goodyear said in its statement.


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