Goodyear and DuPont Industrial Biosciences are working together to develop BioIsoprene, a revolutionary bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene. BioIsoprene can be used for the production of synthetic rubber, which in turn is an alternative for natural rubber and other elastomers. The development of BioIsoprene will help reduce the tyre and rubber industry’s dependence on oil-derived products.
Currently, the two companies have demonstrated proof of the technology through the production of a prototype tyre made with BioIsoprene monomer. This tyre is on display at the Goodyear stand at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show.
For Goodyear, a bio-based alternative to synthetic rubber is an important advancement, as the company seeks innovative approaches to addressing raw material needs. The company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, and BioIsoprene monomer produced from renewable materials will help achieve this goal.
“Finding a replacement for oil-derived materials is the right thing to do from a business standpoint, but it’s also the right thing to do for the environment,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, chief technical officer for The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company. “Since synthetic rubber is a critical component to our products and many others, we are very excited to be working on this renewable alternative with DuPont.”
The two companies first signed on to the collaboration in 2008. In May of 2011, DuPont acquired Danisco and its Genencor division which has spearheaded the research and development activities around the BioIsoprene product.
The BioIsoprene monomer is derived from renewable raw materials as well and represents a significant development within the biochemical and rubber industries where traditional isoprene is currently used. Aside from synthetic rubber for tyre production, BioIsoprene can be used in a wide range of products such as surgical gloves, golf balls and adhesives. By itself, Goodyear is one of the world’s largest users of isoprene for the production of synthetic rubber and other elastomers.
The two companies have invested jointly for more than four years to validate the project, establish the teams, and secure intellectual property assets. To date, technical progress has exceeded expectations. Additional investments to establish pilot plant operations and manufacturing infrastructure are expected.