Rubber may not be the first thing that leaps to mind when words like 'innovation', 'bio' or possibly 'dandelion' enter the conversation. Yet rubber, too, is quietly and, in its own way, making a stir in the renewable resources discussion.
Take, for example, the recent announcement made by Versalis, a global leader in elastomers and a subsidiary of Eni, and Yulex Corporation, an agricultural-based biomaterials company. These companies are forming a strategic partnership to manufacture guayule-based bio rubber materials and will launch an industrial production complex in Southern Europe.
Guayule (Parthenium argentatum) is a native North American renewable, non-food crop that requires little water usage, no pesticides and offers an alternative source of natural rubber that can be locally produced. Also, tire company Cooper is collaborating with Yulex, on researching a tire-grade rubber from the plant.