BHUJ, India—India's Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) has begun working with U.S. biotechnology company Kultevat Inc. to develop processing methods that would lead to the use of dandelion-based latex in rubber compounds that could be used in making tires.
BKT said this research and development project is part of the company's commitment to sustainability and innovation and aligns it with the European Commission's recommendations concerning critical raw materials. It intends to carry out research and testing at the Suresh Poddar Innovation Hub at its Bhuj OTR tire plant in northern India.
St. Louis-based Kultevat specializes in green technology, and in particular the environmentally friendly extraction of high-quality dandelion rubber from Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TKS), also known as Russian dandelion. The company also has developed methods of stabilizing TKS rubber.
The contract BKT and Kultevat signed qualifies as a "joint research agreement" under Title 35 of the United States Codes regarding patent law, BKT said.
The joint project's first stage covers several sample deliveries in 2018, BKT said, whereas Stage 2 involves the supply of 1 metric ton of stabilized TKS rubber to BKT by October 2019.
BKT's research into the TKS rubber will look into specific performance criteria such as behavior if exposed to mechanical stress; fatigue resistance; tensile strength; durability and resilience; cut, tear and heat resistance, etc., the Indian company said, with the goal of developing semi-finished compounds for testing in varying applications in the fields of agriculture, earthmoving, port and mining, ATV and industrial applications.
According to the findings, it might be necessary to modify existing production processes and equipment, BKT said.