ELOY, Ariz. (Oct. 11, 2013) — Bridgestone Americas has completed construction and setup of the Agro Operations Guayule Research Farm in Eloy.
The research farm will supply guayule biomass for rubber production at Bridgestone's BioRubber Process Research Center, which is still under construction in Mesa, Ariz., according to the company.
Agro Operations includes a 281-acre research farm, two greenhouses, an equipment storage building and a main research and laboratory building, Bridgestone said. Researchers at the site will work on such projects as genetic improvement of guayule, optimized agronomic practices, scale-up of seed availability for additional farming and biomass production, and building relationships with independent guayule producers.
Bridgestone began planting guayule for research at Agro Operations in the spring of 2013, and completed the fall 2013 planting not long ago, according to the company. The first guayule biomass should be available for evaluation as a raw material for tires in mid-2015, it said.
Guayule is an integral part of Bridgestone's "100-percent sustainable materials" initiative, according to Bill Niaura, director of new business development for Bridgestone Americas.
"Guayule fits the profile perfectly, as it's both domestic and renewable, and the completed Agro Operations site is a critical piece to delivering on our commitment," Mr. Niaura said.
Once completed, the BioRubber Research Center will be home to a staff of 40 researchers and technicians, Bridgestone said. The 10-acre site will include an 8,400-sq.-ft. office/lab building, a four-platform, 3,500-sq.-ft. shrub prep building and a 3,100-sq.-ft. mechanical and electrical building.