MILAN, Italy—Italian synthetic rubber producer Versalis Eni S.p.A. is creating a partnership with agricultural-based biomaterials firm Yulex Corp. to develop and produce guayule-based biorubber that it expects one day will yield elastomers suitable for tire production.
The partnership will cover the processing chain from crop science to biorubber extraction to the construction of a biomass power station, the firms said without disclosing financial details or a development timetable.
Versalis, a subsidiary of Italy's Eni S.p.A. oil and petrochemicals group, will develop materials for various applications, starting with consumer and medical specialty markets but with an eventual target of optimizing the process for materials suitable for tire production.
Versalis, formerly known as Polimeri Europe, intends to launch an industrial production complex in southern Europe dedicated to the partnership.
The partnership will leverage Phoenix-based Yulex's core competencies, including crop science and biorubber extraction technologies, to boost Versalis' bio-based portfolio, the partners said. Versalis sees guayule-based rubber as a "supplementary business opportunity and an increased commercial offering."