Michelin Plans to Make Tires From Recycled Plastic Bottles
Michelin, which made headlines last fall by announcing the world’s first carbon-neutral tire, is back in the news with another green initiative that could yield much larger benefits.
The French giant wants to do its part to eliminate plastic waste by making tires from recycled bottles. Yep, that's right.
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It has teamed up with French biochemistry company Carbios, which has developed a technology that uses a certain enzyme to depolymerize polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The resulting high-tenacity polyester is particularly suitable for tires, due to its breakage resistance, toughness and thermal stability,” the two companies explained in a joint statement.
“These high-tech reinforcements have demonstrated their ability to provide performance identical to those from the oil industry," said Nicolas Seeboth, director of polymer research at Michelin.
Michelin did not specify possible applications—cars, SUVs, pickups, heavy trucks, etc.—or production costs versus conventional tires, but it’s certainly promising.
Some French media outlets report that Carbios could build a plant in Germany in late 2022 with production to start in 2024.
Michelin has set a goal to use 40 percent sustainable materials in tires by 2030 (currently 28 percent) and become a fully carbon-neutral business by 2050.