Continental, the technology company and manufacturer of premium tires, debuted its new research laboratory in Anklam, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, and presented it to the public on December 6.
The 323,000-square-foot facility, named Taraxagum Lab Anklam, is set as the base for future research on farming and the extraction process of Russian dandelion as an alternative raw material source to the rubber tree in the tropics. If initial test results indicate viability, the tire manufacturer is planning to introduce the raw material into serial production within ten years, in order to obtain an increasing proportion of its natural rubber demand from the dandelion plant.
In the medium term, around 20 employees with background in agricultural sciences, chemistry, and production and process technology, will research plant cultivation as well as developing, setting up, and operating machines for processing Russian dandelion at the new location. The new business location creates opportunities for farmers in the region and their cultivation areas, too.
Continental has been conducting research into replacing natural rubber from the tropics with plants, which can be grown at moderate climates since 2011. The first sample of a premium winter tire featuring a tread made from pure dandelion rubber was brought onto the road in 2014. The first truck tire with a tread made from Taraxagum then followed at IAA 2016.