When it comes to tried-and-true tire fillers, Continental is aiming for more sustainability there, too.
Take silica for one. The material, after all, is essential to optimizing characteristics such as grip, rolling resistance and service life. And while it's critical, it could be more sustainable, too, thanks to rice husks.
Continental is exploring the use of silica made from rice husk ash in its tires.
"Rice husks are a waste product of rice production and cannot be used as food or animal feed," Continental said. "Silica derived from the ash of rice husks is more energy-efficient when used in manufacturing than that obtained from conventional materials such as quartz sand."
Other plants have promise as well, particularly when it comes to creating bio-based oils and resins that can be used to replace petroleum-based products in its tire. So far, the tire maker has found successes with rapeseed oil and resins derived from materials in the paper and wood industries.
And all of this is smaller part of a much bigger picture for the world's fourth-largest tire maker.
"We continuously invest in research and development around innovative technologies, sustainable materials, and environmentally friendly production processes," Petchick told Rubber News in September. "… Sustainable and responsible management enhances our capacity for innovation and the future viability of our Tires business. We want to shape a sustainable future and reduce adverse impacts along the entire value chain with our products, services, and operations."