Didn’t know there was a rubber problem?
On the old forum I posted about rubber plantations under attack by disease.
And of course there is a increasing demand for rubber. Rubber plantations are environmentally detrimental as they are established in former rain forest land.
And I discovered today that the price for rubber is NOT link to the cost of production & demand. It is set in a Shanghai commodity market place.
A growing demand for rubber and short supply should be good news for the farmers, as it would make rubber more profitable to grow. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The price of rubber is set by the distant Shanghai Futures Exchange, where brokers speculate on value of this material alongside gold, aluminium, and fuel. “The pricing has nothing do with the cost of production,” says Robert Meyer, co-founder of rubber buyer Halcyon Agri. Because of this arrangement, the price of rubber per tonne can vary three-fold from one month to the next, and in recent years has been held at very low values.
There is synthetic rubber but it is produced from oil. And it is not biodegradable.
And there is a plant base solution.
Also attracting interest is guayule (pronounced wai-oolie), a woody shrub that grows in the deserts that border the US and Mexico. Starved of rubber during World War Two, the USA briefly pressed guayule into production. While it’s chemically similar to natural rubber, it doesn’t contain the proteins which cause latex allergies.
Today, only two companies produce rubber commercially from guayule
Since only 2 companies are in guayule; I am guessing production costs are higher than current rubber pricing.
Yesterday Goodyear made an announcement.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the company unveiled a prototype tire made from 90% sustainable materials. That’s up a whopping 20% from the already impressive prototype tire the company revealed at last year’s CES, which was made from 70% sustainable materials.
What’s more, Goodyear says that the new prototype has already passed Department of Transportation testing, meaning it’s approved for road use.
The tires are made from soybean oil (instead of petroleum oil), rice husk silica (a byproduct of rice milling that is abundant in rice-producing countries), postconsumer polyester, and biorenewable pine tar resins.
Polyester, in particular, is a major environmental problem, and finding ways to recycle it while also cutting down on the need for new materials is a great thing for our planet.
Environmental friendly, made in a factory not subject to disease and fungus. I just want to know what these new tires will cost me.
I just ran across another article. It appears Goodyear currently has a tire that utilizes soybean oil to replace 60% of petroleum in the typical tire. It is called the Assurance Weatherready.
“In a typical tire, the amount of petroleum oil is around 8 percent. In the Assurance WeatherReady™, we were able to replace about 60 percent of that oil with soybean oil, which included 100 percent of the oil in the tread compound,” said Goodyear Chief Engineer, Polymer Science and Technology Robert A. Woloszynek.