Continental Tyre Wins GreenTec Award 2014 for Dandelion Rubber

  • Joint development project with the Fraunhofer Institute awarded Europe’s biggest environmental and economic prize in the category “Automobility”
  • Jury praises positive environmental impact due to shorter transport distances and protection of the rain forest 

Continental Tyre

Hanover/Munich, May 8, 2014. Leading tire manufacturer and automotive supplier, Continental, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) at the University of Münster were honored with the GreenTec Award 2014 for their co-development project “RUBIN – Industrial Emergence of Natural Rubber from Dandelion.”

A 60-member jury panel consisting of experts from industry, academia, trade associations, and the media considered this project to be an outstanding example of commitment to the environment and pioneering environmental technology in the category “Automobility.” The award ceremony was held on May 4th in Munich at the start of IFAT, the world’s leading trade fair for environmental technology. The GreenTec Awards, of which there are 14 different categories, are Europe’s biggest environmental and business awards and were first presented in 2008.

“We are very pleased to receive this award for our dandelion rubber project. Continental is pushing a very promising technology whose full potential will fully unfold in the next few years. In view of increasing levels of motorization in growth markets such as Asia, we expect a major increase in demand for natural rubber in the future. We are convinced that the use of rubber from dandelion root will make our tire production considerably more efficient and sustainable,” said Nikolai Setzer, Member of the Executive Board of Continental and Head of Tire Division.

Dandelion Rubber

“In the RUBIN project we are working to find an ecologically, economically, and socially viable solution to meet this growing demand,” added Dr. Andreas Topp, Vice President Material and Process Development and Industrialization Tires at Continental. Continental and IME are currently working on the industrial use of Russian dandelion, which is said to be very rubber-rich and does not need a tropical climate in contrast to regular rubber trees. This undemanding plant can be cultivated in a number of temperate regions on what is known as “marginal land” that was previously unusable in terms of agriculture. Andreas Topp: “Dandelion rubber will shorten transport routes to our production sites and enable the growing global demand for rubber to be met without sacrificing more precious areas of rainforest. Both these factors will have a sustainably positive effect on the world’s carbon footprint and on bio-diversity.”

Dr. Carla Recker, project manager and in charge of materials chemistry in the Continental Tire Division, emphasizes: “In addition to persuading the jury of the GreenTec Awards, this positive environmental impact also motivates and encourages us in our work on this long-term and challenging undertaking.” Dr. Recker received the award together with Professor Dirk Prüfer of the Fraunhofer IME in Munich in front of 1000 guests from the worlds of business, sport and entertainment.

With sales of around €33.3 billion in 2013, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently employs more than 182,000 people in 49 countries.

As one of the world’s leading tire manufacturers, with more than 44,000 employees, the Tire division achieved sales of €9.6 billion in 2013. Today, the division has 24 production and development locations worldwide. The broad product range and continuous investments in R&D make a major contribution to cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility.

The Commercial Vehicle Tire business is one of the largest manufacturers of truck, bus and commercial specialty tires worldwide.

Continental’s Tire Division is an Official Sponsor of the German DFB Cup, 2014 FIFA World CupTM in Brazil and the UEFA EURO 2016TM in France.