Michelin has announced that by 2048, it plans to recycle 100 per cent of all tires and use 80 percent sustainable materials for its tires.
Currently, the worldwide recovery rate for tires is 70 percent while about 50 per cent of tires are recycled. Michelin tires use 28 percent sustainable materials which comprise 2 per cent recycled material like recycled powdered tires and steel and 26 percent bio-sourced materials like natural rubber, sunflower oil and limonene. The tire manufacturer is investing in high-technology recycling technologies so that the content of sustainable materials can be increased to 80 percent.
Michelin is also engaged in several research programs dealing with bio-sourced materials like Biobutterfly. It is also working with high-level industry and academic partners on advanced technologies and materials. The Biobutterfly program was launched in 2012 in association with Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles with the goal of creating synthetic elastomers from biomass like wood, straw or beet.
Michelin’s goal is to develop innovative solutions so that more and more recycled and renewable materials can be incorporated in its tires, while it would also continue to focus on improving its performance, and to raise the proportion of recycled materials to 30 per cent by 2048. The company reinforced this commitment by acquiring Lehigh, a specialty chemical company which specializes in high-technology micro powders that are derived from recycled tires.
Lehigh Technologies is now part of the High Technology Materials Business Unit of Michelin and is the leading player in the market when it comes to micronized rubber powders (MRP), a sustainable raw material that can cut feedstock costs by up to 50 percent. The use of MRP does not compromise performance and it can be used as a substitute for oil- and rubber-based feedstocks in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications, including high-performance tires, plastics, consumer goods, coatings, sealants, construction materials and asphalt.
Michelin is currently constructing the first Lehigh plant outside of the United States in Murrillo del Fruto and it is expected to become operational this summer.
Commenting on the Le High acquisition Christophe Rahier, director of the high technology materials business line at Michelin, said, “This acquisition demonstrates Michelin’s strategic determination to capitalize on its expertise in high-tech materials, in areas that extend beyond the field of tires. In particular, by promoting the use of innovative recycled materials from tires in a variety of non-pneumatic industrial sectors.”
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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