TOKYO (June 1, 2012) — Bridgestone Corp., continuing its efforts to develop tires made from “100-percent sustainable” materials, claims to have produced polyisoprene synthetic rubber from isoprene derived from biomass.
Since polyisoprene can replace natural rubber in some cases, Bridgestone said it expects this development could be a major catalyst for achieving its goal of a sustainable society. Bridgestone and its partner in the development, Ajinomoto Co. Inc., hope to be able to commercialize the material by 2013.
Bridgestone said it aims to promote polyisoprene bioengineering technologies while confirming the material's rubber properties and further enhancing polymerization catalyst technologies for developing polyisoprene with more advanced performance features.
The company did not say where the development took place; Bridgestone has synthetic rubber processing capacities in the U.S. and China.
Ajinomoto Co. is a Tokyo-based biotechnology company involved in high-quality seasonings, processed foods, beverages, amino acids, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals. Its work with Bridgestone represents a broadening of business base into developing solutions for improved food resources, human health and global sustainability.
The development of bio-based isoprene marks an important step in replacing petrochemical raw materials with sustainable biological raw materials, Ajinomoto said. The two companies have been working together since June 2011 on this project.
Bridgestone defines sustainable matirals as those “that do not use resources such as fossil fuels that cannot be consumed indefinitely and are expected to be depleted.”
Bridgestone also is researching altneratives to natural rubber such as guayule and the Russian dandelion.