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Continental, working in tandem with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and University of Munnster’s Applied Ecology, recently received the GreenTec Award for the “RUBIN – Industrial Emergence of Natural Rubber from Dandelion” project.

The joint effort project between Continental, Fraunhofer Institute and University of Munnster were evaluated by a 60-member jury panel consisting of experts from industry, academia and trade associations. 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 4 May 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.

Nikolai Setzer, Member of the Executive Board of Continental and Head of Tyre Division, commented, “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 tyre production considerably more efficient and sustainable.”

“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 Tyres at Continental.

Continental and the 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. Topp reiterated that the Dandelion rubber would help to shorten transport routes to the Continental production sites and enable the growing global demand for rubber to be met without sacrificing more precious areas of rainforest. Both these factors instigate a sustainably positive effect on the world’s carbon footprint and on bio-diversity.