GENEVA (March 8, 2012)—Bridgestone Corp is to work with the desert shrub guayule to develop an alternative for natural rubber from the tree Hevea Brasiliensis.
The project is being funded by Bridgestone Japan, but much of the work will be carried out by Bridgestone North America.
Bridgestone Japan is providing the funding and strategic input for the effort, while BATO will be responsible for finding the suitable location and operating the pilot farm and process research facility. BATO will also leverage the resources of the Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology and its Akron Technical Center to provide technical and research expertise.
BATO is currently seeking land to establish the pilot farm and construct the rubber process research center in the southwestern U.S.
The company expects to finalize a location, establish the research farm and begin construction on the process research center later in 2012. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2014. Trial rubber production should start in 2015.
Guayule is native to the deserts close to Mexico and the US, but will grow in southern parts of Europe, north Africa and other arid, dry zones.