MESA, Ariz.—Bridgestone Americas Inc. will hold a groundbreaking ceremony May 16 at the site of its Biorubber Process Research Center in Mesa, the company announced.
The research and development center is designed to investigate the use of the desert shrub guayule as an alternative to Hevea brasiliensis as a source of natural rubber. The invitation-only groundbreaking will feature top Bridgestone executives as well as Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and other community leaders, Bridgestone said.
When completed, the 10-acre site will contain an 8,400-sq.-ft. office/laboratory building; a four-platform, 3,500-sq.-ft. prep building for guayule shrubs; and a 3,100-sq.-ft. mechanical and electrical building, the tire maker said.
The center will employ 40 researchers and technicians, and the first guayule rubber samples for evaluation as a component in tires should be read by mid-2015, Bridgestone said.